• Traditional Chinese medicine has developed rapidly in recent years.

Traditional Chinese medicine has developed rapidly in recent years. (Photo : www.chinesemedicineliving.com)

A drug abuse control agency in Shandong Province in East China will start using traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to treat drug addiction in a joint research program with a TCM university, according to a report by the Xinhua News Agency, a state-backed media agency.

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Co-founded by Shandong Drug Abuse Control Bureau and the Shandong TCM University, the rehabilitation research center that utilizes TCM was inaugurated on Tuesday. It is the first provincial-level agency of its kind.

Qi Yan'an, the head of the bureau, said on Thursday that TCM therapy, such as massage, acupuncture, relaxation and herbal medicine, has been found to be effective when it comes to treating people with drug addiction.

Qi said that the center would utilize both Western treatment methods and medicine that are currently being used and TCM therapy.

The provincial government has had a drug abuse issue for the last few years. The TCM center is seen as one of the provincial government's methods to address this problem.

In 2015 alone, 28,417 drug addicts were arrested by the police. This brought the total of drug addicts in Shandong to 84,124.

Among the new drug addiction cases, 17,532 were new drug users.

The bureau also said that 81 percent of these cases involved male drug addicts, with most addicts aged between 18 and 35. The youngest drug addict was 13 years old.

The bureau has placed 3,026 drug addicts into compulsory drug treatment.

According to Qi, the center would explore using TCM to help restore the physical and mental health of drug addicts. The course of treatment normally takes around three years.

Qi added that TCM was currently mainly used to help drug addicts be relieved of the discomforts that are caused by rehabilitation.

TCM has recently gained a lot of media attention after pharmacologist Tu Youyou won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for using TCM to treat malaria.