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Drug use up among females in Shanghai

MORE Shanghai females are becoming drug addicts and they are getting hooked at an earlier age, officials said yesterday as they released the results of a new report.

The proportion of female drug addicts in the city climbed to slightly more than 25 percent last year, according to the report, released by the city's anti-drug commission. In the past five years, the figure was between 22 and 24 percent, said Zheng Yuqing, an official with the agency.

A major reason for the change is that women are taking part in more social activities where drugs are used, commission chief Zhou Weihang said. Another contributing factor is that a growing number of women work in large entertainment venues where drugs are sold, the commission said. And drug use is rising among women who are migrating to Shanghai from the provinces.

Addicts were defined as people who have been caught using drugs at least twice, which would put them into a compulsory rehabilitation center.

'Ice,' heroin, pot

Shanghai had 32,934 drug addicts overall last year, a rise of about 18 percent, which was consistent with previous years. The drugs they were using ranged from marijuana to methamphetamine, or "ice," to heroin.

The report showed that the average age of female drug addicts is declining, officials said, without revealing an exact figure. Investigators found 60 percent of drug users under age 18 were female. The mix between the two genders was about equal from age 18 to 25, while drug addicts over age 25 were mostly male.

"The study shows the need to increase efforts to help women, especially young women, to help them resist drug temptation and social pressure," Zhou said.

The commission said drug sales, especially for "ice," are becoming more frequent in the city.

"A large underground consumption market has formed," Zhou said.

Heroin dealers are increasingly using Shanghai as a transshipment point to southern China, officials said.

In the battle against addiction, police are making videos to warn young people about the dangers of drugs.

The city also expanded drug-rehabilitation points last year to give support to recovering addicts.


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