China's registered drug users top 2 mln

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China's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said Tuesday that the country's number of registered drug users had reached 2.14 million by the end of March.

About 83.6 percent of those drug users are male. In terms of age, over half of the country's registered drug users are aged 19 to 35, 44.3 percent are 36 to 59, 0.7 percent are under 18 and 0.6 percent are over 60.

Based on an analysis of data collected over the past three years, the percentage of drug users addicted to opioids fell from 70.5 percent in 2010 to 60.6 percent in 2012, according to the ministry.

Another change involved a rise in the number of synthetic drug users. This group accounted for 72.6 percent of the total registered drug users in 2012, up from 55.6 percent in 2010.

Meanwhile, synthetic drug abuse rates are higher among younger users, the ministry said, adding that 86.5 percent of drug users under 18 abuse synthetic drugs.

Liu Yuejin, the head of the ministry's drug control bureau, told Xinhua that China's police forces cracked 122,000 drug-related cases in 2012 and apprehended a total of 133,000 suspects, marking year-on-year increases of 19.8 percent and 18.1 percent, respectively.

Of 45.1 tonnes of seized drugs, more than 16 tonnes were new types, Liu said, adding that drug traffickers have used not only traditional highways and railways but also aircraft, boats and postal services for transporting illicit substances.

Liu stressed that since China is close to two of the world's major drug sources, the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent, the country is enhancing cooperation with foreign countries and regions on joint anti-drug campaigns.

China has established a law enforcement cooperation mechanism with Laos, Myanmar and Thailand in the Mekong River area, which has helped the four countries crack 1,037 drug cases and arrest more than 1,300 suspects in their latest joint operation.

China has also carried out effective anti-drug cooperation with the United States, Russia, Australia, Canada, the European Union and ASEAN and Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states.

Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun said Tuesday that police should encourage and mobilize the general public to actively participate in the prevention of, and the crack down on, drug-related illegalities.

The police's anti-drug campaigns should ensure social stability and boost people's sense of security, Guo said.

The MPS also announced that Internet-based drug sales are on the rise in China.

Police across the nation have joined efforts to crack down on such online activities by sharing information and jointly investigating and verifying information, according to the MPS.

For drug users using the Internet to buy or discuss drug-related topics like purchasing, police authorities will mete out differentiated punishments. Criminal sentences will be issued to organizers and ringleaders, while addicts will be subject to drug education and rehab, the MPS said.

In October 2011, Chinese police arrested 12,125 suspects in a nationwide campaign against Internet-based drug sales and activities, and some criminal suspects were found to have used an online video platform to conduct sales and gather drug addicts.

In a bid to educate drug users and help them live drug-free lives, the country registers drug users and arranges regular police visits with them.


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