Newsbrief: With Prohibition Failing, China Calls for "Peoples' War" on Drugs 4/8/05

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With the number of both drug arrests and officially recognized "drug addicts" on the rise, Chinese authorities are responding with a call for more, better drug war. After a Tuesday meeting of the National Narcotics Control Commission, officials claimed great success in prosecuting drug users and the drug trade, but called for greater efforts to stem the rising tide of drug use in the planet's most populous country.

Chinese anti-drug poster
China will launch a national "peoples' war" to fight the drug menace, said Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang. "The nationwide campaign is to meet actual demand to deal with current tough situation of drug abuse in China, and is also a decisive strategy to win the initiative in fighting against drugs," he said according to an account from the official Xinhua news agency.

The announcement of a tougher drug war came even as Zhou touted the government's success in waging the war. Among the "major achievements" Zhou mentioned were a 5.1% increase in drug arrests to nearly 67,000 last year and seizures of 10.8 tons of heroin -- up 14% -- three million ecstasy tablets (or "head shaking pills") and 2.7 tons of methamphetamine. "Thanks to years of high-powered crackdowns, drugs have become more difficult to come by on the domestic market. Drug prices have risen significantly and the high incidence of drug-related crimes has generally been brought under control," Xinhua quoted an official as saying.

But amidst the "successes" were some more sobering numbers: The number of "drug addicts" was up 6.8% over 2003 to some 791,000. And while, according to officials, the consumption of traditional drugs, such as opium and heroin, is stable, there has been "a dramatic increase" in the number of users of "new" drugs, such as ecstasy and methamphetamine. Synthetic drug users as a percentage of all drug users have increased nearly four-fold since 2001, officials said.

As part of its "peoples' war" on drugs, the Chinese government will spend $120 million over five years to support the drug control infrastructure, as well as $12 million for Yunnan Province, which borders Southeast Asia's "golden triangle," and $60 million to support local anti-drug efforts across the country, Zhou said.

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Issue #381 -- 4/8/05

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Medical Marijuana Bills Moving in the States | Hemp Legislation on the Move in the States | NORML 2005: Activists Meet and Plot in America's Marijuana Mecca | Pushing the Envelope in Oaksterdam | How Did Your US Representative Vote on Medical Marijuana Last Year? | Please Help Students Losing Financial Aid for College Because of Drug Convictions Get Their Aid Back -- Alerts Online for the House, Senate, and Arizona and Rhode Island Legislatures | Newsbrief: With Prohibition Failing, China Calls for "Peoples' War" on Drugs | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Newsbrief: Supreme Court Lets Stand Ruling Allowing Drug Dog Searches Outside People's Homes | Newsbrief: State Courts in Indiana, Oregon Restrict Police Garbage Searches | Newsbrief: Iowa League of Women Voters Criticizes Drug Policy, Calls for Sentencing Reform | Newsbrief: NORML Issues Sobering Report on Prohibitionist "Drugged Driving" Offensive | Media Scan: American Enterprise Institute on US Drug Policy, New York Times on Hurwitz Case, Christopher Hallam on Afghanistan, NYPD Narcotics Against Legalization | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar


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