The Shanghai Daily recently ran a story about a privately-owned drug rehab center in the city:
The Shanghai Huashi Drug Recovery Hospital, the only private recovery institution in the city, is different from government funded recovery stations where druggies lose their addiction through forceful means.
Wang’s hospital is open to people who want to get rid of their addiction but who feel the need for privacy. …
The hospital, tucked away in a quiet corner of Fengxian District and surrounded by two rivers, is an ideal place for addicts to bury their sensitive past.
Um, forceful? In addition to the two rivers, another thing that Huashi offers patients — excuse me, “druggies” — is anonymity. And that often makes the doctors’ jobs that much more difficult:
But one of the problems they face is that patients are not required to provide their true identity. In many cases, their information is often false.
As it is, the hospital sometimes loses contact with a patient who often falls back into the clutches of addiction.
Most of the addicts at the center, the story makes it seem, are hooked on heroin. China’s poppyfied past is long and well documented. And heroin has quite a hold on China’s present. Our fair city has played a pretty major role in the history of good ol’ H, sometimes known as China White.
The handy opium timeline — which starts in lower Mesopotamia in 3400 BC — makes its first stop in Shanghai in 1909 when the International Opium Commission convened and Americans tried to convince the world of the “immoral and evil effects of opium.” Smoking heroin reportedly got its start in Shanghai in the 1920s, and “chasing the dragon” was born. In the 1930s, “[t]he majority of illegal heroin smuggled into the U.S. comes from China and is refined in Shanghai and Tietsin,” otherwise known as Tianjin. The Communists spoiled all the fun when they took power, burning all the poppy fields down (although some suggest “production was actually allowed to resume in order to help Chinese secret agents feed the growing heroin habits of American GIs stationed in Vietnam”).
Now, China is back seated firmly in the saddle of the white horse, and Chinese doctors are trying and more and more non-forceful ways — including acupuncture and TCM — to help addicts kick the habit.
Now if they could just get their children to stop playing computer games.
Related: The gruesome story of Wu Xiaohui