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Novel Way to Cure Addicts
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Sanshui Drug Detoxification and Rehabilitation Center in Foshan, near Guangzhou, has adopted a novel method to rehabilitate drug addicts.

Drug addicts and abusers will be assigned work for which they will be paid for while they undergo treatment.

"This is a new treatment method. We will help our patients to recover (from drug abuse) with not only physical, but also psychological treatment such as psychological health education, behavioral correction and professional training," Guangdong Labor Reeducation Bureau director Xiang Heqi said yesterday.

This method of treatment will help patients' regain their confidence. They can learn professional skills that they can use later in society."

At the Sanshui center, all patients have to sign a contract according to China's labor law, and have to work eight hours a day, five days a week, and get about 400 yuan a month.

"It (the new treatment) is different from the earlier physical oriented ones because it allows patients to rehabilitate while they are working," said an official of the Sanshui center.

The government has chosen the Foshan facility near the capital of south China's Guangdong Province as one of the first centers to try out the new method of treatment.

Eight more centers from other provinces and cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, too, have joined the pilot project.

"The results at Sanshui have been very satisfactory," Xiang said. "We'll expand the center further. Our aim is to rehabilitate as many as 3,000 people by 2008."

Most of Sanshui center's patients volunteered to undergo the treatment and professional training after being de-addicted at other centers. But that doesn't mean we don't accept other patients, Xiang said.

A patient who signed a one-year rehabilitation and labor contract with the center after being discharged from a labor re-education unit at the end of 2006 told reporters: "I want to learn some skills at the center and support my mother later with the money I earn here."

Another patient said: "I will use the money I earn here to watch the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games."

The latest anti-drug report says the total number of drug abusers in the country had risen from 1.14 million at the end of 2004 to 1.16 million a year later. The number of drug abusers in Guangdong alone has reached more than 100,000.

"The overall situation is still serious," the report says. "Our war against drugs must continue to move forward vigorously."

(China Daily January 11, 2007)

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