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Drug use rising as synthetics catch on

By Zhao Wen   (Shanghai Daily)

09:50, March 15, 2013

Shanghai will strengthen its efforts to combat the growing drug problem as the number of drug takers continues to increase, officials said yesterday.

"The drug problem remains a pressing and prominent issue," said Ding Xuexiang, director of Shanghai Drug Prohibition Committee.

No specific numbers on the increase in users or the current number of drug takers in the city were available.

Synthetic drugs are much more popular among new drug users than traditional drugs such as opiates and heroin. About 85 percent of new drug abusers last year used synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine, ketamine and MDMA, Ding said.

Despite tough crackdowns, illegal drug makers changed chemical formulas to make derivatives of synthetic drugs and changed the name of the products in an attempt to avoid police investigation.

Drug dealers are also finding more ways to smuggle drugs into Shanghai. Unlike the days when drug dealers hid the drugs in passengers' luggage, more than 86 percent of the drug smuggling cases handled by local customs last year arrived via express deliveries.

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