The Korea Herald


Bill proposed to revise act on online drug information management

By Lee Jung-youn

Published : Aug. 27, 2023 - 14:07

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As South Korea grapples with an alarming rise in drug-related crimes and an emerging online narcotics market, a ruling party lawmaker has proposed an amendment to the relevant law.

Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun of the ruling People Power Party said Sunday he and 13 other lawmakers have proposed an amendment to the Act on Promotion of Information and Communication Network Utilization and Information Protection.

The amendment stipulates that the Korea Communications Commission should prepare measures to protect young users against drug-related information on online networks and define information about the use, manufacture and sale of narcotic drugs and antipsychotic drugs as illegal and not to be transacted in via online networks. Online service providers should eliminate such information, according to the revised bill.

Although South Korea was recently considered a drug-free region, the country has been fighting a surge in drug-related crimes in over the last several years.

A recent report from the Supreme Prosecutors' Office said 18,395 drug offenders were apprehended last year, marking a record high. The report also noted a declining age range among drug offenders, with online communities playing a significant role in the rise of drug-related crimes.

The number of teenage drug offenders steadily increased from 164 in 2019 and reached 602 in the first half of this year alone, and in addition to the simple purchase and resale of drugs, some have participated in distribution.

Last year, the Korea Communications Standards Commission blocked 26,013 cases of drug sales information or took corrective measures, up from 7,551 in 2019.

"Drugs are highly addictive and almost 40 percent of drug-related criminals commit similar crimes again. The online network system should be overhauled as soon as possible to prevent teenagers from being exposed to harmful drug information," said Rep. Yoon.