Taipei, June 24 (CNA) The number of China's illegal drug users has been estimated at around 14 million, according to a study released by the country's state council Wednesday.
The report states that 2.95 million people have been recorded in narcotics consumption citations and cases by the end of 2014, but puts the actual population of drug users at around 14 million.
Drug use in China has caused about 49,000 drug-related deaths and has led to an annual economic loss of 500 billion Chinese yuan (US$80.5 billion).
The report also indicates that the number of synthetic drug users outstripped that of conventional narcotics for the first time in 2014.
Most notably, the report said that since 2014, the demographic of drug users has been spreading across a vast range of professions including civil servants, freelancers, celebrities and white collar workers.
The report said that most of the heroin and amphetamines consumed in China are smuggled from the Mekong Delta, while the provinces of Guangdong and Sichuan are listed as the country's largest domestic origins of the two drugs.
Although government efforts have been successful in curbing the consumption of heroin in China, the use of synthetic drugs such as amphetamines is rising rapidly, the report said. (By Chiu Guo-chiang and Ted Chen)