China issues drug rehabilitation regulation

BEIJING – China on Sunday issued a regulation on drug rehabilitation that encourages drug users to voluntarily undergo rehabilitation programs.

The regulation took effect Sunday as a supplement of the country’s anti-drug law that was implemented three years ago.

Drug users who voluntarily receive intervention programs “will be exempt from punishment,” said the regulation, promulgated on the 24th International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which falls on Sunday.

With seven chapters and 46 articles, it also stipulates the rights and obligations of drug addicts, as well as supporting measures for voluntary, community-based, and government-ordered drug rehabilitation.

Up to date, more than two million Chinese have been receiving compulsive rehabilitation or treatment, statistics show. However, many of them find it difficult to completely give up the addiction.

The regulation, aiming to explore effective ways to curb drug use,  calls for boosting “the role of communities and families” in helping reduce drug users’ dependency on narcotics.

It asks rehabilitation centers to provide addicts with consulting services and education on the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other contagious diseases.

Efforts should be made to “boost pharmaceutical management” so as to prevent loss or abuse of psychotropic substances and narcotics, the regulation says.

The regulation also stipulates on the protection of drug addicts’ personal information, saying “members of the police, judiciary and health departments who cause the leak of personal information must be punished.”

The regulation has solicited public comments before it was released.

Transnational drug trafficking remains rampant in China, particularly in southwestern border regions of Yunnan and Guangxi.

A report issued last month by China’s National Narcotics Control Commission said authorities investigated 89,000 drug-related crimes and arrested 101,000 suspects last year.

Law enforcers confiscated 5.3 metric tons of heroin and one metric ton of opium in 2010, the report said, adding that intervention programs were used to treat and rehabilitate some 175,000 drug addicts last year.

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