Nation sees big fall in drug-related crime
China has seen big drops in the number of drug-related crimes, seizures of illegal drugs and identification of new drug abusers over the past five years, according to a senior narcotics official.
Drug control work has steadily progressed over the period, Liang Yun, deputy head of the China National Narcotic Control Committee, said on Thursday, two days ahead of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Public security authorities handled 64,000 drug-related criminal cases last year, half of the 128,000 cases recorded in 2016. The number of newly identified drug users dropped nearly 60 percent over the same period to 155,000, while the number of people currently addicted to drugs in China fell by 30 percent to 1.8 million, the committee said. The results show that the country’s anti-drug campaign has been effective and the overall trend is positive, Liang said.
“A survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that about 96.96 percent of interviewees were satisfied with China’s anti-drug work in 2020,” he said.
In 2020, about 3 million identified drug users nationwide had remained free of illicit drugs. The number is about 2.5 times that recorded in 2016, Liang said, adding that the growth rate of drug users has slowed down significantly.
The number of drug users under 35 years of age declined by 44.8 percent from the end of 2016 to 2020, he said.
The high incidence of drug-related crimes, including the importation of illicit substances and manufacturing of synthetic drugs, has also been severely curbed through a series of targeted operations.
To further control materials used for making narcotics, the authority added 15 types of precursor chemicals and 58 new drugs, fentanyl-related substances and synthetic cannabinoids to the drug substances control list, Liang said.
Stronger industry oversight and inspections had also helped control the spread of new illicit drugs.
Five new centers of the National Drug Laboratory, located in Beijing and the provinces of Zhejiang, Guangdong, Sichuan and Shaanxi, recently began operations. Key work involves monitoring, testing and identifying new drugs and cracking down on and preventing drug-related illegal activities, Liang said.
The development of the internet has also posed new challenges in the fight against illegal drugs. Public security authorities have invited 55 internet and logistics companies to sign a letter of commitment to assist with drug control, said Lan Weihong, another deputy head of the committee.
In 2020, police solved 4,709 drugrelated cases involving use of the internet, arresting 8,506 people and seizing nearly 860 kilograms of illegal drugs.
To better deal with online drug offenses, the committee plans to complete a national drug control network comprised of five provincial big data centers. The network will enable investigators to more precisely target offenders and criminal activities, Lan said.