Thursday September 22, 2005
A "people's war" on narcotics in China has turned into a campaign against designer drugs after police found a surge in usage of ecstasy, ketamine and methamphetamine, or ice, among urban professionals.
In a shift that may be down to a booming economy and the growing influence of globalised culture, Chinese authorities said this week the focus of their anti-drugs campaigns has widened from disadvantaged social groups - such as minorities, prostitutes and the unemployed - to affluent white-collar workers.
According to the domestic media, the public security ministry launched a campaign against "new drugs" - synthetic stimulants and hallucinogenic chemicals - which are popular in nightclubs and karaoke bars in the fast-growing cities such as Shanghai and Chongqing.
In November, the government will introduce new rules to crack down on the use of such narcotics, which are not clearly covered by existing laws. The new policy follows a sharp rise in seizures of laboratory-made drugs.