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Traditional drug use down, as synthetic use rises

By YANG ZEKUN | | Updated: 2022-06-24 16:37
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While the proportion of traditional drug-related crime is decreasing in China, synthetic drug crime is rising, a senior prosecutor from the Supreme People's Procuratorate said.

Drug users have been turning to synthetic narcotics and psychotropics — drugs controlled by the State — in recent years, as tough control measures block access to more traditional drugs forcing users to find alternatives, Chen Guoqing, the SPP's deputy-general prosecutor, told a news conference on Friday, two days ahead of the 35th International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

The manufacture, trafficking and consumption of these new types of synthesized drugs is becoming more frequent, Chen said.

"Some people do not properly understand the harm of these new synthesized drugs, which lead to feelings of confusion and high levels of addiction, and can also result in physical harm and lead to associated crimes, like rape, molestation and robbery," he said.

From 2019 to March 2022, about 160,000 people were prosecuted for synthetic drug crimes, including some 150,000 people for methamphetamines and other drugs, and 18,000 for using new psychoactive substances, according to the SPP.

The number of those prosecuted for traditional drug crimes decreased from 109,000 in 2019 to 75,000 last year. However, the proportion of people involved in new drug cases increased from 53 percent to 57 percent in the same period.

In addition, most of the traffickers involved in new drugs are also users. Young people are most susceptible to new drug use, abuse and trafficking. Some frequent offenders have even taken advantage of the immaturity of some young people to lure them into committing drug-related crime.

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