A shift in problem ownership of addiction from criminal justice to specialty treatment providers:
Half an hour outside this capital city in southwest China’s Yunnan province, amid 100 acres of fruit trees and vineyards, three dozen recovering drug addicts stand every morning in a loose circle, their arms around each other’s shoulders.
The voices that ring out do not recite the forced slogans and denouncements often heard in China’s state facilities for drug users. Instead, the group reads aloud a mission statement that has been adopted from a New York-based drug treatment center:
“I am here because there is no refuge,” the participants said in unison on a recent Saturday morning. “. . . Until I confront myself in the eyes and hearts of others, I am running.”
That focus on individual responsibility and peer interaction is atypical for a drug treatment facility in China. Much more common are techniques used at the nearly 600 compulsory detoxification centers run by the police, or the even tougher techniques used by the Justice Department at reeducation campuses for repeat offenders. Both are military-like institutions that emphasize manual labor as part of their regimen.