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Drug Busts Up in 2004

China solved 98,000 drug-related cases in 2004, up 4.4 percent over the previous year, and seized 66,900 suspects, up 5.1 percent, the National Narcotics Control Commission announced at its plenary session on Monday.

China seized 10.8 tons of heroin in 2004, up 13.6 percent year-on-year; more than 3 million ecstasy pills, an eight-fold increase; 2.7 tons of methamphetamine, down 52.9 percent; and 160 tons of chemicals for used in making drugs, up 119.8 percent.

"Thanks to years of high-powered crackdowns, drugs have become more difficult to come by on the domestic market. Drug prices have risen significantly and the high incidence of drug-related crimes has generally been brought under control," said a commission official. 

However, the number of drug addicts rose 6.8 percent to 791,000 at the end of 2004.

Nearly 86 percent were addicted to heroin, while the number of people addicted to new kinds of drugs was on the rise.

Most drug addicts are young people, farmers or the unemployed.

Nevertheless, the commission reported, the number of new drug addicts in the year went down 19.7 percent year-on-year to 22,000, while the number of rehabilitated addicts who have stayed clean for three years or more reached 88,000.

The percentage of registered drug addicts below the age of 35 dropped to 70 percent as of the end of 2004 from 77 percent in 2001.

The commission attributed this success to a combination of measures, including enhanced ability to locate new drug addicts, a more vigorous anti-drug publicity campaign, international cooperation and improved legislation.

The commission sponsored a nationwide campaign for creating drug-free communities, issued myriad publicity materials and dispatched nearly 100,000 publicity contingents to high-risk groups in 2004.

(Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2005)

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