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China Targets Schools to Combat Drugs
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Drug addiction in China has increased by 54 percent in the last seven years but the country is fighting back and has achieved some success where it counts most with primary and middle school students, a senior anti-drug official said yesterday.


Chen Xufu, secretary-general of the China Anti-narcotics Foundation, said drug education in primary and middle schools had made students more able to identify and refuse narcotics.


A recent questionnaire-based survey conducted in several major Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai showed that 99 percent of the 3,000 interviewed students in primary and middle schools were aware of the dangers of drug addiction. And 87 percent said that if somebody offered them drugs such as ecstasy, they'd refuse and report the incident to teachers or police.


There are now more than 1 million registered drug users in China. With over 200 million primary and middle school students, the country regards drug education for school kids as a key component in the fight against drugs, Chen said.


Primary and middle schools nationwide have made drug awareness part of the regular school curriculum.


According to official Chinese statistics some 758,100 of the 1,050,000 registered drug addicts -- 72.2 percent -- are under 35. The figure is down from 77 percent in 2001.


Primary and middle schools throughout the country were ordered to assess their anti-drug education activities, according to a circular jointly released by the National Narcotics Control Commission, the Ministry of Education and the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League on October 25, 2006.


Previously, the three authorities had provided 200 schools with anti-drug educational materials.


(Xinhua News Agency January 9, 2007)

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