China will encourage voluntary drug rehabilitation and build a social service network for the addicted, according to a guideline for national anti-narcotics work made public on Sunday.
The guideline, issued by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and the State Council, or the Cabinet, has envisaged that by 2020 the number of drug users should grow at a much slower rate, and there will be a more efficient drug rehab system in place.
Efforts will be made to encourage voluntary drug rehab, including providing drug rehab services in community facilities while regulating compulsory and quarantined drug rehab, according to the guideline which highlighted the anti-narcotics work as a "national security strategy".
Drug rehab medicines will be made more accessible and those rehabilitated will get assistance in job-hunting, the guideline said.
Moreover, the guideline noted that drug trafficking and drug penetration from overseas as well as domestic narcotics production and sales will be harshly penalized, and anti-narcotics international cooperation will be conducted.
It also encouraged private capital to invest in the anti-drug undertaking, and called forth a number of anti-narcotics social workers and volunteers, as well as a reward system for those tipping off on drug crimes.
"It is the first time that an anti-narcotics guideline was put forward in the name of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council," said Liu Yuejin, the anti-drug chief with the Ministry of Public Security.
Liu said the guideline came forth as the international spread of drugs is getting increasingly rampant, and the domestic situation is also worsening.
Li Xianhui, chairman of the China Narcotics Control Foundation, said, "Drugs are more and more accessible in common people's lives," adding that China is now confronted with worsening situation in terms of overseas drug penetration, domestic drug dealing, trafficking of drug-making chemicals and growing number of addicts.
According to official statistics, China now has a registered drug-taking population of 2.58 million. It was also estimated that the spread of drugs inflicted a direct economic loss of over 100 billion yuan ($16 billion) each year.
Chinese courts sentenced 39,762 criminals for drug offenses in the first five months of 2014, up 27.38 percent year on year.