June 26, 2008

China Drug Addicts Put at 2.3M

Drug abuse is on the rise in China with the number of addicts in the country estimated at 2.3 million, health officials say.

The 2008 annual report on drug control in China says the number of known drug addicts rose to 1 million this year from 900,000 in 2006, but that number is seen as an underestimate, China Daily reported Thursday.

Our investigations in some high-risk cities show the ratio between known and unidentified drug addicts is about 1 to 1.3, said Yang Fengrui, director of the anti-drug bureau of the Ministry of Public Security.

That would mean up to 1.3 million addicts are yet to be identified, which then would raise the total to 2.3 million, the report said.

Yang said about 80 percent of the drug abusers in China are addicted to heroin. However, he noted the number of those abusing new types of drugs, such as Ice and Ketamine, is growing rapidly, especially among people younger than 35.

Migrant workers in cities have become a high-risk group, he said.

Last year, Chinese police solved 56,600 drug-related cases, or 22 percent more than in 2006, the report said. Police figures showed 5.8 tons of Ice were seized last year, up 26 percent from 2006.