Detox center adds TCM treatment

Compulsory detox center also uses acupuncture and moxibustion.

A local police-run compulsory detoxification center has introduced traditional Chinese medicine into its treatment regime, along with methadone replacement therapy and psychological counseling.

The combination of traditional Chinese and Western medicine is intended to remove toxins from the bodies of addicts. Other TCM therapies like acupuncture and moxibustion are also applied as part of detox treatment.

After receiving treatment for at least a month at the police-run facility, addicts are transferred to drug rehabilitation centers under judicial authority.

“Traditional Chinese medicine has its restrictions, like it requires time to take effect. But its curative effect is stable and can last long,” said the deputy director of the detox center, surnamed Shi. “It can prevent symptoms from rebounding as well. So we use some TCM therapies after the application of methadone.”

Shi told Shanghai Daily that clinical trials on the combined therapy have yielded positive results.

These therapies, however, are intended for users of traditional drugs like heroin. For synthetic drugs, like methamphetamine, users are treated first with tranquilizers followed by a regime of physical training and psychological counseling.

“We use methadone therapy to help drug addicts calm down in the early stages. If their symptoms persist, we turn to traditional Chinese medicine for follow-up treatment,” said an officer surnamed Zhang who is responsible for a group of female addicts. She said TCM treatment is administered by doctors at the center two to three times per month.

According to Zhang, addicts also take courses on yoga and handicrafts.

At the center, a 28-year-old drug user, surnamed Song, told Shanghai Daily that now she lives a healthy and simple life.

“I won’t take drugs after I leave the rehabilitation center,” Song said. “It brings too much trouble to my family. And since I also teach art to children, I don’t want to have a negative impact.”

Another drug user, a 30-year-old former dancer surnamed Luo, told Shanghai Daily that he is learning Japanese with material provided by officers. “Every drug addict has a hole in his or her mind, some for love affairs, some for family and some for frustrated careers. The officers will touch the weakness in our hearts and guide us to face it,” Luo said.

According to Luo, officers at the center try to support the interests of those under their watch.

The center also works with social workers on connecting drug users and their families, and mediates if their relationship is bad. “Many of the drug addicts will use again after they leave. However ... the longer they stay in society, the more success we achieve,” said Zheng Ye, a social worker at the center.

Special Reports