China marks anti-drugs day with sentences, TCM rehab

Updated 2017-06-27 09:49:17 Global Times
Officers burn confiscated drugs in Mangshi City, capital of Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China's Yunnan Province, June 26, 2017. A total of 5.635 tonnes of confiscated drugs were destroyed in the city on Monday, the 30th International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Officers burn confiscated drugs in Mangshi City, capital of Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China's Yunnan Province, June 26, 2017. A total of 5.635 tonnes of confiscated drugs were destroyed in the city on Monday, the 30th International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Internet-based drug trafficking becomes more covert, spreads rapidly

China marked the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking with the executions of drug leaders and exhibitions to scare off potential drug users, amid stronger efforts to fight the war on drugs.

The intermediate court of Shanwei, South China's Guangdong Province on Saturday announced death sentences for 13 drug dealers in a verdict conducted in a stadium, eight of whom were executed later that day, all from Lufeng, a city long haunted with illegal drug production, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

China is implementing creative ways of curing drug addiction, including the use of virtual reality films and traditional Chinese medicine, as officials warned that the drug problem remains severe and complicated, thanks to the emergence of social media.

Various events were held around the country to mark the anti-drugs daywhich falls every year on June 26, to raise awareness about the drug problem.

Beijing police on Monday destroyed 1.4 tons of narcotics seized between 2014 and 2015.

Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun said at a forum on Monday that all departments across the country should increase cooperation and coordination in anti-drug operations. He also urged efforts to expand social organizations and mobilize the public to participate in the war on drugs.

Xiong Desheng, deputy director of the China National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC), said at a forum held Friday that drug abuse has led to trillions of yuan in losses. The impact on the country's labor force has been significant because of the drugs' impact on their health, as they give rise to the spread of infectious diseases, Xiong said.

In March, China's National Narcotics Control Commission said that by the end of 2016, China had 2.5 million drug users, an increase of 6.8 percent from the previous year. Among them, 58.4 percent were between the age of 18 and 35.

Online drug trade

A report sent to the Global Times by the commission said China continues to face multiples challenges on drug control.

"Internet-based drug trafficking is spreading rapidly and drug trafficking activities have become more covert," the report said.

Social media platforms like WeChat and Momo are being used more frequently by the drug trade, Wang Wei, a professor at the People's Public Security University of China, told the Global Times, adding that drug traders usually collect money through these social platforms and send photos of where the drugs are hidden. "These drug dealers can operate without seeing each other, which makes it more difficult to arrest them," Wang said.

The NNCC also said that cross-border drug trafficking is rising, and drug trafficking has become more international.

In 2016, Chinese authorities uncovered 1,481 drug cases involving foreigners, arrested 1,876 foreigners and seized 6.6 tons of various types of illegal drugs.

On Monday, police in Xishuangbanna Autonomous Prefecture in Southwest China's Yunnan Province handed over 14 alleged Myanmar drug users to the Myanmar police, while the latter sent 12 alleged Chinese drug users to China, news site thepaper.cn reported.

Xishuangbanna police said these drug users will be sent to drug rehabilitation centers.

Tech-based rehab

Xiong said to help treat drug addicts, China has built 775 drug rehabilitation centers which can accommodate 361,000 drug users.

Cao Xuejun, head of the detox administration under the Ministry of Justice, said at a news conference Thursday that traditional Chinese medicine and virtual reality technology will be used to help rehabilitate drug addicts.

Drug users are required to watch movies which show the horrible consequences of using drugs. They will then be made to watch a film showing the beauty of living a healthy life, an employee surnamed Wang from the Liangzhu compulsory drug rehabilitation center told the Global Times.

The VR technology makes everything more vivid, so many patients feel dizzy and their heart rates shoot up while watching the film. But apart from that, there are no other side effects, Wang said, adding that many patients become afraid of using drugs after receiving such treatment for a few months.

The Beijing government also used VR technology in an anti-drug campaign in subway stations on Monday to expose the public to the pain of drug addiction.

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