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Number of Chinese Drug Addicts Falls to 720,000
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Almost 65,000 Chinese drug users have been rehabilitated in the past eight months and the number of addicts has fallen to 720,400. 

Over 200,000 addicts went through compulsory rehabilitation in the first eight months of the year and 94,700 remain in rehabilitation centers, according to the Ministry of Public Security. The fall in the number of addicts is attributed to the compulsory rehabilitation measures and strict checks on chemicals and narcotics, the ministry explained.

The National Narcotics Control Commission, the Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs have established a network that has tightened controls on chemicals that can be used in drug production. .

Chinese law enforcement agencies seized 117 tons of chemicals in the first eight months of the year and stopped a further 576.6 tons from being illegally exported from the country.

The government has opened 307 methadone clinics, covering two-thirds of China's 31 provinces and regions, to combat heroin addiction and reduce the spread of the AIDS virus. The sharing of needles by drug users permits the virus to spread. Methadone, a synthetic narcotic, is given to addicts who are attempting to break their heroin habit.

About 40 percent of Chinese with the AIDS virus can trace it to sharing needles for injecting heroin, according to official figures.

China had 785,000 drug addicts at the end of 2005, according to the National Narcotics Control Commission.

(Xinhua News Agency November 10, 2006)

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