Police officers destroy drugs in Guiyang, capital of Southwest China’s Guizhou province, June 23, 2015. The local police destroyed more than 1,200 kilograms of drugs on Tuesday, three days ahead of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. [Photo/Xinhua]
BEIJING – The Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia remains the largest drug source for China’s traffickers, accounting for over 90 percent of narcotics seized by law enforcement agencies in 2014.
A Cabinet report on China’s drug situation released Wednesday underscores the threat posed by the region incorporating parts of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, despite efforts at cross-border cooperation. Most of the heroin and methamphetamine consumed in China came from the Golden Triangle, the report said. In 2014, Chinese law enforcers captured 9.3 tonnes of heroin and 11.4 tonnes of methamphetamine.
The amount of Golden Crescent heroin seized in China was not alarming, but the threat shall not be ignored, the report warned.
Potential heroin production in Afghanistan was estimated at 670 tonnes, the largest producing area in the world. Heroin imported from the region accounting for 1.4 percent of total seizures in China in 2014, in over ten provinces.
Cocaine from South America also entered China from time to time, detected in 12 provincial regions, said the report.
One in 100 Chinese may have used narcotics: reportChina had 2.95 million registered drug addicts at the end of 2014, but the real number who have used narcotics is thought to exceed 14 million, the Ministry of Public Security said on Wednesday.
That means one out of 100 Chinese may have used drugs, said Liu Yuejin, assistant minister of public security.
Although the spread of traditional drugs such as heroine has been largely curbed, the number of identified synthetic drug addicts has risen sharply to 1.46 million, six times the number in 2008.
Drug users are becoming younger, according to the ministry. Among the 480,000 newly identified drug users in 2014, 29,000 were under the age of 18 and around three quarters were under the age of 35.
In the past, drug users were mostly the unemployed, farmers, private business owners and migrant workers. Now the demographic is expanding to include significant numbers of employees of public institutions, freelancers and entertainers, said Liu.
Drug abuse is doing more harm to society. Around 49,000 of the registered drug users in China died in 2014. HIV has infected 3.5 percent of heroin users and 1.4 percent of synthetic drug users, according to the data released by the national drug abuse monitoring center.
Cases of suicide, self-mutilation, drug-driving, attacks on police and violent crime resulting from drug use were also observed from time to time, Liu said.
China captures 169,000 drug crime suspects last year
China captured 169,000 drug crime suspects last year, 60 percent of whom were under the age of 35, with nearly 90 percent having failed to finish middle school.
The report on China’s drug situation, the first released by the Chinese government, said drug smuggling is rampant and “more and more organized and professional, and carried out in covert and cunning ways through multiple and constantly changing channels.”
“While traditional drug trafficking such as concealment in human bodies or cars, and trafficking by road are still prevalent, new methods have emerged, such as trafficking online, by post, by air express and through the logistics system,” the report said.
The suspects were from a variety of social groups, including workers, farmers, students and private business owners, but nearly 70 percent were unemployed, mostly from underdeveloped areas.
“Tempted by profits, they are hired or used by drug dealers to engage in trafficking, which not only endangers society, but is also harmful to themselves and their families,” the report said.