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Synthetic drug abuse increases in China: report

(Xinhua)

10:04, August 06, 2012

BEIJING, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The abuse of synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine has been on the rise in China, according to an annual drug abuse report.

Methamphetamine and heroin remain the most popular synthetic drugs, according to a report released Wednesday by the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA).

Near 40 percent of the synthetic drug users monitored in the report were new to the habit, it indicated.

The report said China still faces a significant challenge in combating drug abuse.

China has about 1.19 million registered heroin addicts, or 63 percent of the country's total drug users, with 655,000 Chinese using synthetic drugs or stimulants.

Since the production and sale of ephedrine, a primary chemical component in methamphetamine, is under strict government control, compound medicines containing ephedrine-like ingredients have become an alternative for criminals to manufacture drugs.

Compound medicines containing the ingredients include common drugs used to treat colds and other respiratory ailments, making them difficult to control, said Kong Fanpu, a SFDA official.

Kong said supervision over the production, transport and prescription of the compound medicines will be strengthened.

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