China saw a dramatic 26.3 percent rise in the number of drug addicts in 2000, a leap attributed to easier access to "ice" and heroin, Chinese drug officials said Friday, February 9.
Bai Jingfu, deputy director of National Narcotics Control Commission said at a plenary in Beijing that there are 860,000 drug addicts in the nation, with police seizing 30.6 percent more ice, a mix of cocaine and other amphetamines, in 2000 than in the previous year.
Seizures of ice exceeded 20 tons last year, up from 16 tons in 1999. Police confiscated just 7.3 tons of "ice" in all of 1991-98, officials said.
"The life of a family is ruined when a family member is a drug addict," Public Security Minister Jia Chunwang said.
Jia, also director of the National Narcotics Control Commission, stressed that the country faces an increasingly tough task in cracking down on drug trafficking and abuse.
With more illegal narcotics being smuggled into China and various domestic drugs produced, drug consumption is rising and causing real damage to economic development and social stability, Jia said.
Data from the commission show that in 2000, Chinese police identified 96,189 drug cases, up 48.7 percent from 1999, and arrested about 57,000 suspected drug dealers. About 36,000 suspects were tried and 6.3 tons of heroin, 2.4 tons of opium and 20.9 tons of "ice" were seized.
No effort will be spared to combat the problem, said officials from the commission, led by the Ministry of Public Security in a cooperative effort with legislative, financial, health and education agencies.
Bai said new types of narcotics, including "ice," have appeared rapidly on the domestic black market since the middle of 1990s and is generating staggering illegal profits.
The Golden Triangle, an area between Myanmar, Thailand and Laos, and the Golden Crescent in Central Asia are notorious for their drug production and trafficking, Jia said. "More than 95 percent of China's heroin consumption was smuggled from the Golden Triangle."
Jia said the government will intensify its efforts against drugs coming into China from abroad in the area of Southwest China, especially Yunnan Province, which is adjacent the Golden Triangle.
(China Daily 02/10/2001)