In regions facing severe drug abuse problems, a drug test and a background check against a national database of known drug users will be required before candidates are allowed to assume some special posts in government, according to a notice from the National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC) of China, the Beijing Times reported.
According to the notice, drug-related cases involving government officials have been on the rise in recent years, and an increasing number of officials from different regions and departments have been implicated in drug-related crimes.
The notice asserted that the uptick has been caused by a lack of education and supervision and by present punishments that are not powerful enough to deter involvement with drugs.
Officials who use drugs can be expelled from their posts in severe situations, according to a regulation that took effect in 2007. They also face a stricter standard when it comes to conviction for drug-related crimes, Fang Wenjun, a Supreme People’s Court judge, was quoted by news outlet people.cn as saying on April 7.
Gong Weiguo, the mayor of Linxiang in Central China’s Hunan Province, was arrested in December 2015 following accusations that he took drugs in April of that year. Southwest China’s Yunnan Province also dismissed 41 members from the Party for drug abuse in 2014.
Xia Yu, a Beijing-based psychologist specializing in drug rehabilitation, told the Global Times that government officials are easy targets for drug dealers, who often bribe officials with drugs for personal gain.
Xia noted that officials who use drugs are harder to detect, as most of them are highly educated and well-informed about drugs, and thus can better hide their drug use and dodge inspections. He suggested that drug use among officials can be curbed by more measures such as soliciting tip-offs from the public, performing spot checks and holding irregular drug tests.
The number of drug users in China was estimated at over 14 million as of the end of 2014, over 1 percent of the total population, the NNCC said.