Most addicts in the city use synthetic drugs and start before they are 30 years old, according to a survey.
The poll, conducted by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), showed 58.6 percent of addicts in Shanghai this year had used synthetic drugs like ice, ecstasy and ketamine. The figure is nearly 20 percent higher than it has last year.
Xia Guomei, a professor with the SASS who took part in the study, said most had initially experimented with the drugs for fun, some starting as early as 12.
Among the 730 synthetic drug addicts interviewed, 295 of them got stoned for the first time when they were between 21 and 30, and 126 were 20 or under. They got the drugs at entertainment centers.
"Many think offering drugs at parties and discos is fun, and a cool thing to do, drawing the attention and envy of others," the Shanghai Youth Daily said.
Xia said many of the drug abusers were educated and from the upper or middle class. No figures were released for this group.
Xia said the frequent use of words such as avant-garde, trendy and intoxicating were responsible for seeding a cultural environment for drugs. People tend to think it makes them different from others.
She appealed to anti-drug authorities to pay closer attention to the trend and take measures.
The study called for stricter rules to ban the drugs, more education, and rehabilitation facilities.
"Although synthetic drugs do not cause a deep physical addiction like heroin, they create psychological addictions and hallucinations, which are also harmful," Xia said.
According to the survey, some abusers had suffered violent spells after taking the drugs.
"Some of them told me they had cut their wrists. Others had hallucinations," Xia said.
Source: China Daily