Chinese security officials seizes more than 2 tons of methamphetamines in four months

More than two tons of methamphetamines were seized by Chinese security officials during the first four months of a national narcotics crackdown, state-run media said Tuesday, underscoring the country's growing drug problem.

The Ministry of Public Security impounded 2,182 kilograms (4,803 pounds, 2.4 U.S. tons) of "ice," a smokeable form of methamphetamine, between April and the end of July, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The report provided no details on the location of the seizures, or on other types of drugs that authorities may have seized.

Earlier this month a Beijing newspaper reported that the ministry and five other agencies had begun a crackdown on illicit drug use in entertainment venues, focusing on Ecstasy, ketamine and methamphetamines.

China has experienced an explosion in drug use in recent years, involving not only traditional substances like heroin, but also many of the newer designer drugs fashionable in the West.

The number of drug cases handled by police rose by 4.4 percent in 2004 from the previous year to over 98,000, a February report by the country's anti-narcotics agency said. The number of drug suspects arrested was up by 5.1 percent to 67,000.

In April, Communist leaders announced a "People's War on Drugs," appealing for public help to rehabilitate addicts and offering rewards for help in catching traffickers, reports the AP.

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