Beijing introduces compulsory urine tests to keep drug addicts clean 2007-09-18 19:50:33   Print

    BEIJING, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Convicted drug takers in Beijing are to be subjected to compulsory urine tests to ensure they remain clean of illegal narcotics, the municipal drug control committee has announced.

    Those who test positive will be ordered to seek treatment at community-based rehabilitation centers and assigned to a social worker who will monitor their progress in kicking their habits, said committee deputy director Shi Dawei.

    The new stricter measures are part of a campaign, running till the end of the year, to stop the spread of illicit drugs in the city.

    "Drug takers who voluntarily decide to kick the habit should register their real names with the police if they wish to have methadone treatment, and new treatment centers are to be built," said Shi, who declined to give exact figures for drug users in the capital or for new methadone clinics to be added.

    Beijing has been striving since last year to progressively rid entertainment venues, such as karaoke rooms, public places and all communities of drugs, but with limited success.

    In late May, city police launched a drive titled "Wind and Thunder Sweeping Narcotics". Since then, police have broken up five major drug trafficking rings and arrested 47 people, confiscated 3.3 kilograms of illegal drugs, plus a pistol, ammunition and some cash.

    Drug abuse has been cited as the major transmission route for HIV/AID in China, which recorded 18,543 new cases of HIV and 4,314cases of full-blown AIDS in the first half of the year.

    At a meeting early this month in Henan, Han Mengjie, assistant to the director of the office of the AIDS Control Work Committee of the State Council, said that by late July, the number of HIV/AIDS cases in China totaled 214,300, of whom people with full-blown AIDS numbered 56,758, and 18,246 had died.

    Methadone is a synthetic narcotic that is given to addicts who are trying to break a heroin habit.

    The government has opened 307 methadone clinics, covering two-thirds of China's 31 provinces and regions, to combat heroin addiction and reduce the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus by addicts sharing needles.

    Beijing is home to eight clinics where 1,000 drug takers receive supervised treatment.

Editor: Song Shutao
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