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Drugs, a tough enemy
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The rise in the number of major drug-related cases police cracked last year not only sheds light on the success China has achieved in controlling narcotics in the country, but also indicates an upward trend in the use of banned substances.

What is particularly noteworthy is the increase in the number of cases involving the manufacturing of drugs. Despite the unremitting efforts in narcotics control, drugs continue to be manufactured, trafficked and consumed in China.

The criminals, usually part of a large network or the same families, are increasingly getting involved in either trafficking raw materials needed for manufacturing drugs or are manufacturing illegal substances themselves.

The types of drugs that are consumed today are very different from the earlier days. Of the drugs seized in 2008, the proportion of heroin recovered dropped to 65.88 percent from 75.42 percent a year earlier. The rate has further dropped to 61.28 percent in the first five months of this year.

New types of synthetic drugs, like methamphetamine and ketamine, are on a steady rise over the past couple of years.

The annual growth rate of new heroin addicts is 4.6 percent, with 51 percent of abusers under the age of 35. By the end of 2008, China had over 1.1 million registered drug users, including 900,000 heroin users, according to statistics from the Ministry of Public Security.

Drug abuse destroys innumerable lives and undermines our society. No matter how smart a person, addiction to drugs will ruin his or her career. Regardless of how hard the narcotics control task, China must work even harder to combat the growing problem.

Yesterday was the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. To observe this day, it is important for us to understand the importance of cooperation with the rest of world against the scourge.

The fact that the technology of manufacturing new types of drugs has been trafficked from the Republic of Korea and Japan into China suggests that crimes capitalizing on drugs know no borders. International cooperation is essential to the final goal of a drug-free community.

The cases that Chinese police have cracked show that the means criminals use to manufacture or transport drugs are much more diversified than ever before.

Some criminals have rented residential houses for locations to manufacture drugs. Some mix drugs with other commodities to send them by mail. Some hide drugs in their own bodies. Some even hire pregnant women or women still breastfeeding their babies to smuggle drugs.

The demand for efforts to fight drug-related crimes has never been higher. And it's not about to get any easier.

The entire society must be further mobilized to join in the campaign against drug abuse by doing as much as we can to stop our youth making harmful substances a part of their life.

(China Daily June 27, 2009)

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