In 1998 Wu Xuemin, a 40-year-old woman in Baotou City, in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, was sent to a local agency to have treatment for her drug addiction.
Three years later, she is now successfully running a special hotline to help other addicts.
"When I was first in the anti-addiction clinic, my whole body ached, and I seemed to have a thousands ants crawling over me," she recalled.
Wu conquered her addiction with the help of the police officers and her roommates at the center. Afterward, she pledged to start a new life by helping other drug addicts to cure their habit.
On May 24 this year, the former addict opened a hotline called "Xuemin Chat Room" to talk with addicts and their relatives. So far, she has received almost 1,000 calls.
Over the past six months, the service has cost 12,000 yuan,quite a sum for a resident in Baotou, a city with many layoffs from the state sector. The money has been used for rent, electricity and water and office necessities, and for financially helping addicts who want to quit drugs.
When the local authorities heard that Wu had run into financial difficulties, they helped her by providing a new office and a computer. Wu has also opened a laundry to support her hotline and to give former addicts a job.
"I hope more and more brothers and sisters who want to give up their addiction will get in touch with me," she said, "I will spare no effort to help them."
(Xinhua News Agency December 14,2001>