According to official statistics of the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, there were 2,580,000 registered drug addicts in China in April 2014. Other sources put the actual number at around 10 million. In 2011, the “Regulations on drug control” (戒毒条例) clearly stated that the government should push social organizations to provide services to drug addicts trying to stop using. Although the regulations led to the development of drug control at the community level and an increase in social workers specialized in the issue, grassroots NGO have not seen a radical improvement in their situation. Access to funding is difficult, registration nearly impossible and many do not want to work in this field. As a result, their are only a few NGOs working on this issue in China.
In this article, the Philanthropy Times interviews three persons involved in the sector. The first is an ex-drug addict who established an NGO aimed at helping addicts register for basic living allowance. He explains that he had a hard time finding Chinese funds to support his activity and has always been supported by foreign foundations, especially the Global Fund.
The second interviewed organization, “Sober Life”, is in the process of getting registration in Shenzhen. Their goal is to push drug addicts’ families to accept them and help them stop using.
Finally the third interviewee is a former drug addict who did volunteer work supporting drug addicts, participated in talks and seminars about drug addiction and joined an NGO working on drugs and AIDS. She points out the difficulties she had finding a job after she stopped using because when arrested for drug abuse, addicts’ identity cards are “marked” for life making their social reintegration difficult.