China’s Narcotics Control Achievements over the Past Five Years
2022-09-01 22:40

The Chinese government is always strictly enforcing drug control policies. Over the past five years, China has endeavored to deepen the battle against drugs, vigorously addressed prominent drug-related issues and optimized drug control system. Remarkable achievements have been made featuring decline in the number of drug offences and drug users as well as reduced harm caused by drugs. According to the statistics of the National Bureau of Statistics, people’s satisfaction level with narcotics control work in China reached up to 96.78% in 2021.

I. Strict crackdown measures were taken to effectively curb drug-related crimes. Considering that drugs were mainly from overseas, China launched special campaigns to disrupt the whole chain of drug manufacturing and trafficking, interdict the inflow of drugs from overseas and reduce drug supply to the largest extent. Over the past five years, China uncovered a total of 451,000 drug-related cases, with 588,000 suspects arrested and 305 tons of drugs seized. In 2021, the number of drug-related cases plummeted to 54,000 from 140,000 in 2017, with an average annual decline of over 20% for five consecutive years.

II. Drug rehabilitation services were strengthened to continuously consolidate the achievements made in drug rehabilitation. China further promoted the “Care for Drug Users” campaign to largely reduce drug demand. Free drug rehabilitation services were provided by the government to sick and disabled drug users and 80% of drug users received rehabilitation treatment in communities. Personalized services were provided to drug users under treatment, and every 15 drug users were supported by one full-time social worker. There were 1,486,000 drug users in China by the end of 2021, dropping by 42.1% compared to the same period in 2016 and accounting for only 1‰ of the national population. There were 3,403,000 people who had abstained from drugs for three or more years, 2.4 times the number at the end of 2016.

III. Publicity and education was further strengthened which led to proved awareness raising among public against drugs. Putting prevention first, the Chinese authorities implemented the national drug prevention education program focusing on teenagers, built the full-coverage drug prevention education systems, innovated and enriched the contents and forms of drug prevention education. The National Digital Platform of Drug Prevention Education for Youth was set up, bringing knowledge about drug control for over 100 million students from more than 230,000 schools throughout China each year. Thanks to all these efforts, people’s drug awareness was dramatically raised and the number of new drug users dropped continuously. In 2021, there were 121,000 new drug users in China, down by 72.8% compared to that in 2016. The number of current drug users under the age of 35 dropped by 57.1% compared to that at the end of 2016.

IV. Control on precursor chemicals was strengthened to curb illicit diversion. The Chinese authorities enhanced the control on precursors by newly scheduling 15 types of precursor chemicals, optimizing the end-user verification, diversion monitoring and source tracking mechanism, and severely cracking down on relevant offences. The Chinese authorities also strengthened the import & export inspection on precursor chemicals from and to key countries, launched the National Precursor Chemicals Management Information System that serves over 200,000 enterprises free of charge, and improved the level of full-process and closed-loop management.

V. Preventive measures were taken to effectively control harmful narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Special campaigns were launched to crack down on crimes involving new drugs including fentanyl-related substances, and to prevent the research, development, manufacturing and large-scale use of new drugs. The Chinese authorities listed 58 types of new drugs as controlled substances, and innovatively scheduled the whole category of fentanyl and synthetic cannabinoids. China has the largest number of controlled drugs and the most strict drug control measures in the world, with 449 narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances scheduled.

VI. Rectification was carried forward and situation in critical drug-affected areas had been fundamentally changed. Placing importance on key areas and prominent drug-related issues, the Chinese authorities urged local governments to earnestly fulfill their responsibilities, take targeted and integrated measures to effectively address the prominent issues faced by 139 counties, cities and districts, e.g. drug manufacturing, cultivation, trafficking, abuse, etc., contributing to the continuous improvement of the whole drug situation in China.

VII. The creation and demonstration of model cities was solidly advanced which brought visible improvement to the city-wide management of drug issues. The Chinese authorities innovatively conducted demonstration of model cities under the Safe China initiative and won great support from the governments of participating cities. The Chinese authorities also strengthened the organizational leadership, clarified responsibilities, optimized policies and measures, and deepened the comprehensive governance. China National Narcotics Control Commission designated the first batch of 41 national anti-drug demonstration cities, promoted their best practices and successful experience, and improved the drug control work at city level throughout China.

VIII. Progress was made in dealing with rural drug problems by combining anti-drug and poverty alleviation efforts. The Chinese authorities made concerted efforts to fight illicit drugs, reduce poverty and help those who become impoverished due to drugs. By the end of 2020, all drug-related impoverished people in China were lifted out of poverty as scheduled. Drug control work in rural areas was advanced continuously by  selecting nearly one thousand counties, towns and villages and launching special campaigns targeting at the root causes of regional drug problems. In this way, the Chinese authorities consolidated the achievements of poverty relief measures and empowered the comprehensive advancement of rural revitalization.

IX. International cooperation was enhanced to jointly build a drug-free community with shared future for mankind. China has always firmly supported the three international drug control conventions, implemented the UNGASS 2016 outcome document on world drug problems and commitments outlined in the 2019 CND Ministerial Declaration. The Chinese authorities have pragmatically promoted international drug control cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels, actively and fully participated in international drug control efforts. Moreover, China has deepened drug intelligence exchange and law enforcement cooperation with other countries, conducted joint anti-drug campaigns to crack down on transnational drug trafficking, and played a positive role under the framework of the UN, SCO, BRICS and other multilateral organizations to enhance mutually-benefited, pragmatic and efficient cooperative relations to deal with the challenges brought by drug issues.

X. Narcotics control capabilities at local levels were strengthened by advancing technology applications. National Drug Laboratory was established with five sub-centers located in Beijing, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Sichuan and Shannxi, forming a drug laboratory technical support network that covers the whole China. Urban wastewater analysis, hair follicle drug test, screening and analysis of new psychoactive substances were conducted, and the national anti-drug information and analysis platform was perfected to improve the precise targeting and control capabilities.

Source: China National Narcotics Control Committee