Recreational drug use has grown to an US$82 billion annual domestic business in China despite intensified crackdowns with arrests in the tens of thousands and narcotics seizures tallied in metric tons, The New York Times reported, citing officially reported figures and independent studies. Anti-narcotics Chief Liu Yuejin estimated last year that the actual number of addicts was roughly 13 million, half of whom are suspected of using methamphetamine, popular in the country’s booming cities. (Heroin use is more common among rural residents.) An independent study published last year found China’s wealthy southern coastal cities had the highest consumption of meth, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine.
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