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New synthetic drugs challenge Yunnan's anti-drug efforts

2014-06-26 14:01 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

The penetration of new synthetic drugs in southwest China's Yunnan province is posing challenges to its anti-drug efforts, experts warned on Wednesday, the eve of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Yunnan, which borders the notorious international drug source of the "Golden Triangle," has long been at the forefront of the country's fight against illegal drugs.

Many synthetic drugs are smuggled disguised as coffee, candy, juice and tea and it is more difficult to undercover such drug cases, said Li Jun, deputy director of the public security bureau in Menghai County, Xishuangbanna Prefecture.

Synthetic drugs are being penetrated not only in cities, but also in the countryside, said Li.

"It is much easier to consume synthetic drugs. Also, many people think it is easier to give them up than traditional drugs like heroin," he warned.

"But actually, synthetic drugs could have a bigger impact on people's nervous systems and therefore it is more difficult to kill the addition."

"More and more drug addicts are taking new synthetic drugs like crystal meth and the anti-drug campaign face mounting challenges," agreed Yan Shangzhi, deputy director of the Yunnan Provincial Department of Public Security.

In Menghai, about 95 percent of drug addicts consume new synthetic drugs, while in Xishuangbanna, the proportion is about two-thirds.

Li Jidong, head of a drug rehab center in the city of Puer, said many drug traffickers put several drugs together to make new drugs. "In such cases, it is more difficult to kill the drug addiction," he explained.

"I drank alcohol with friends in 2013 and they told me to eat 'red beans' to dispel the effects of the alcohol, but I couldn't fall asleep after taking them," a drug addict in the rehab center said of her first experience with drugs.

"I made several attempts to give up, but all failed," said the addict, who declined to be named.

In Puer, 79 percent of the drugs seized in 2013 were crystal meth, or ice, compared with about 50 percent in 2009, according to local police.

Despite the challenges, police authorities in Yunnan are waging war on drug smuggling in the five years through 2015. Between 2005 and 2010, local police captured 109,000 drug smugglers and seized 51.6 tonnes of drugs.

They have beefed up publicity on drug control and also strengthened cooperation with anti-drug police in neighboring countries in fighting cross-border drug trade.

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