China's top food and drug watchdog has tightened its control
over narcotic and psychotropic drugs in a bid to safeguard public
health and social security, an official said yesterday.
Yan Jiangyin, spokeswoman of the State Food and Drug
Administration, said a homegrown nationwide monitoring network put
into practice from September is monitoring in real time the
production, supply, distribution, inventory and flow of these
Medicinal narcotic and psychotropic drugs - which include opium,
heroin, morphine, marijuana and cocaine - are strictly controlled
because of their potential for abuse.
"These drugs are a double-edged sword. If properly used they can
assist in medical treatment to improve people's health," Gao Feng,
director of the controlled drug inspection department of the SFDA,
Dolantin, a kind of narcotic drug, for instance, is usually
prescribed to alleviate pain for cancer patients, Gao said.
It can be abused, he added, and this can lead to mental and
physical problems, as well as damage public health and
Because of the monitoring network, the SFDA can now oversee the
flow of narcotic and psychotropic drugs across the country, Yan
By linking drug supervision departments at different levels,
drug producers and distributors nationwide, the network produces
online, real time reports of production and sales data to the
Since the beginning of this month, Yan said, the production,
transportation and delivery of the drugs have been supervised by
"The building of the network doesn't stop there," Yan said. "It
will further expand coverage to include more kinds of drugs."
In addition, medical institutions across the country will be
covered by the network for more efficient supervision, by the end
"It's a difficult task given that the country is so big, with so
many hospitals," Gao said.
Currently, hospitals are the major channel through which
narcotic and psychotropic drugs fall into the wrong hands, mostly
drug addicts, Gao said.
A drug safety campaign, initiated by the SFDA, will be held from
today to October 25 in some provinces, autonomous regions and
municipalities across the country, Yan said at the conference.
(China Daily October 9, 2007)