Drug use in China on the rise, more users are younger

World Today

China releases first official drug report with alarming figures

China captured 169,000 drug crime suspects last year, 60 percent of whom were under the age of 35, with nearly 90 percent having failed to finish middle school, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report on China’s drug situation, the first released by the Chinese government, said drug smuggling is rampant and “more and more organized and professional, and carried out in covert and cunning ways through multiple and constantly changing channels.”

The report showed that by the end of 2014, there were nearly 3 million registered drug users in China, and the actual number of users is estimated at 14 million. That means one out of every hundred Chinese is a drug user. The number has been rising at an alarming pace of 40% each year since 2008. Chinese narcotics authorities say that its spread and related crimes will continue to increase over the next few years.

As Chinese people become richer, drugs have become more widespread, particularly available in bars and clubs. This is one of the reasons why the ages of arrested drug users are becoming lower and lower. In 2014, over half of them were under 35.

Also drug abuse is gradually spreading to groups like regular employees, freelancers, celebrities and even civil servants recently, rather than just marginalized groups such as jobless people, poor farmers or migrant workers.

Another unsettling fact is that people tend to use synthetic drugs, which are more addictive and dangerous than traditional drugs like heroin and opium. In 2014, four out of every five people caught were users of synthetic drugs.

Liu Yuejin, Assistant to Minister of China’s Public Security Ministry, said that the excessive use of synthetic drugs can cause mental disorders, which often prompts dangerous behaviors like suicide, murder and rape. Unlike traditional drugs, which generally cause people to be silent and go inward, synthetic drugs make people excited and go to the extreme.

China’s narcotics authorities said that following this report they are going to publish regular reports on the drug situation in the country. They said while China is determined to crack down on drugs, it also finds it impossible to do it alone. They therefore called for stronger international cooperation to make that happen.

Report compiled with information from Xinhua and CCTV.