South China's Guangdong Province will continue to be one of the country's synthetic drugs manufacturing site, an international drug trafficking channel and a transfer point for the domestic illegal drug trade in the near future, a Guangdong narcotics control official said during a media tour organized by the State Council Information Office and the Office of the National Narcotics Control Commission.
"The rapid spread of drug problems and high incidence of drug-related crimes is plaguing Guangdong at present and will do so in the years to come," Guo Shaobo, deputy director of the Guangdong Provincial Narcotics Control Commission, said at a news conference in Guangzhou on Sunday.
One of the issues behind increasing drug problems is that many drug users who contract infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis are turned away by ordinary rehabilitation centers due to insufficient specialized facilities, said Deng Jianwei, director of the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department.
In response, Guangdong authorities plan to convert some compulsory drug rehabilitation centers into hospitals for drug users and have vowed to resolve difficulties in receiving and treating such patients by the end of 2016, Guo said.
International drug trafficking has tightened its grip on the province, as illicit drugs from regions like Southeast Asia's Golden Triangle and Central and Western Asia's Golden Crescent are often seized in Guangdong.
Some African traffickers are also engaged in the illegal drug trade in the province, Guo said.
The African population in Guangdong stands at around 20,000.
Guangdong has cooperated with 40 countries, including the US and Russia, in drug case investigations and nabbed 503 drug traffickers from 42 countries and regions in 2014. The province has busted 1,708 drug trafficking gangs and seized 34.8 tons of illegal drugs from January to November of this year.