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China's synthetic drugs problem expanding, says government

Staff Writer |
China's drug problem is severe and growing, the government said Monday, with particularly sharp rises in the abuse and production of synthetic drugs which have become a major health concern worldwide.

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Chinese seizures of methamphetamine, ketamine and other synthetic drugs surged by 106 per cent year-on-year in 2016, said Liu Yuejin, vice director of the China National Narcotics Control Commission.

At the same time the manufacture of drug precursors increased along with the production of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), chemicals which mimic the effects of illegal drugs while exploiting loopholes in anti-drug laws.

"Domestic production of crystalline methamphetamine, ketamine, and NPS was severe, not only consumed in the country but also smuggled overseas," Liu told a press conference, adding that the market for synthetic drugs keeps expanding and "in general, the drug problem is still spreading at a fast pace".

Drug-producing areas had expanded considerably, he said.

China is believed to be one of the main manufacturers of synthetic drugs - including opioids such as fentanyl - which have been blamed for public health crises in the US, Canada and Australia among other countries.

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