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Shanghai faces growing drug-abuse problem

Written by: Staff
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SHANGHAI, June 6: The number of drug addicts rose by almost a fifth in Shanghai last year, stoking crime in China's richest and most cosmopolitan city, a state newspaper said today.

There were more than 24,000 addicts in Shanghai in 2005, and the number of well-off and well-educated people using drugs is rising, the China Daily said, citing city narcotics authorities.

The situation is ''increasingly bad'', the newspaper quoted Zhu Ying, deputy head of the Shanghai Municipal Anti-Drug Commission, as saying.

Police have found more types of drugs and drug-related crime is a growing threat, the report said, adding that the discovery of weapons, bullets and advanced anti-surveillance systems showed that traffickers were becoming more protective of their stashes.

Police arrested 33 foreigners last year on drug-trafficking offences, five times as many as in 2004, the paper said.

Shanghai is rapidly re-discovering the vices of its pre-Communist hey-day, when it was known as the ''Whore of the Orient'' for its drug dens, gangsters and anything-goes bordellos.

China has launched a people's war on drugs, offering rewards for information on traffickers, tackling a problem that was almost wiped out after the Communist Party came to power in 1949.

REUTERS

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