The number of drug users has drastically declined over the past several years thanks to the country’s crackdown on narcotics, a senior government official announced Thursday.
Liang Yun, director at the drug control bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, said that an estimated 1.8 million people in China are addicted to some type of drug, a 30% decrease compared with 2016. In 2020, there were reportedly some 155,000 new drug addicts in the country, less than half the number recorded four years ago.
“The efficiency of the anti-drug crackdown has increased,” Liang said during the press conference. “After a severe, high-pressure crackdown, the proportion of drugs produced domestically in China has decreased from 70% at its peak to 13% in 2020.”
Drug-related crime has also declined significantly in the past year, Liang added. Last year, only 64,000 such crimes were reported, compared with 128,000 in 2016.
The use of drugs has been blamed for exacerbating widespread poverty in areas such as the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, one of the main drug smuggling routes into the country. Local governments have thus integrated drug control measures with the country’s poverty alleviation programs, including having the power to send people to compulsory drug rehabilitation centers, if needed.
Currently, hundreds of thousands of people who had fallen into poverty because of their drug consumption habits have been rehabilitated, officials said Thursday.
Authorities also continue to crack down on the illegal production and distribution of drugs.
In May, border inspection and control officials in southwestern Yunnan province busted a major drug smuggling ring, seizing 188.4 kilograms of methamphetamine and arresting one suspect. The same border inspection unit reports to have broken up five drug smuggling rings during April and May alone, seizing over 300 kilograms of drugs.
Editor: Bibek Bhandari.
(Header image: People exercise at a drug rehabilitation center in Shenyang, Liaoning province, June 24, 2014. IC)