tv Asia Insight PBS August 3, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT
yang's successful career in the apparel industry and affluent lifestyle was brought to a halt when she developed a heroin addiction. >> in the shadow of rapid economic development, the use of illegal substances has become a serious social issue in china. the number of recreational drug users apprehended in 2015 rose by 20% in just one year to 1.06 million. an estimated 1 in every 100
chinese citizens is a drug user. yang battled with drug addiction for 22 years. she says she could never have regained a peaceful life on her own. >> professional social workers assist those who battle with various problems in their lives. and are alienated from society. their experience is vital in the rehabilitation of drug addicts. quitting drugs is far from easy.
>> social workers in china work with substance abusers for three years to help them get back on their feet. their job entails building trust with their clients, helping them become financially independent, and easing any concerns they may have. with so much discrimination, and so many barriers facing former drug addicts, social workers play a crucial role. on this episode of "asia insight," we follow the efforts of social workers helping substance abusers regain hope for their future.
>> the suburbs of shanghai. this is a rehabilitation center for drug addicts. of the five rehab facilities in the city, this is the only one that is exclusively for women. in china, criminal sentences are not given for the use of recreational drugs. however, those who are still dependent are sent to rehab centers. this center is for women who have been caught twice or more. the average stay is for one year. but depending on the severity of the drug addiction, this may be extended to a maximum of two years. here patients work, live a strictly routine drug-free life, and learn about social norms, such as ethics, more or less, and the law.
a skyscraper in skral shanghai is home to the office of an npo that helps drug addicts regain entry into mainstream society. the koun counsel of shanghai is funded by the city government as well as from donations. here social workers assist people who have just completed rehab. shanghai was the first city in china to introduce such a facility back in 2003. currently 740 social workers are registered with this organization. chang is one such social worker. she's seen the constant changes
people who complete rehab are legally required to take regular urine tests for if test results show drug use, wang will be reported to the police. blood tests are also used. and can reveal recent illegal drug use. the first three months after rehab is considered the most risky period in terms of relapsing.
>> hoping to rebuild her life, wang visits a local government service center with chang. as a social worker, chang helps wang think about what she needs to rebuild her life. and what government services can assist her. >> what wang needs most is money to cover basic living expenses. following chang's advice, wang applies for public a si tans to avoid depending on her parents' pension and savings.
wang and chang return to the government service center. it is essential for wang to find a job in order to become financially independent. so their next stop is the employment counter. >> during her many years as a social worker, chang has encountered many obstacles in the employment of recovering addicts.
>> authorities do not easily grant restaurant licenses due to concerns about sanitation and the effects on the surrounding environment. chang believed that realizing wang's dream would be the fastest way for her to rebuild her life. but now she's wondering if that's actually the best way forward. chang decides to seek the advice of the therapist who originally counseled wang to reconsider how best to assist her client.