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tv   Newsline  PBS  December 23, 2016 7:00pm-7:31pm PST

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shanghai, china. yong is taking care of her elderly father. she says it's her way to make up for past mistakes.
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yang is a former drug addict. 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.
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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.
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>> 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.
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>> 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.
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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.
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she's seen the constant changes of drug abuse in china up close. >> chang accompanies a client to a local health clinic. wang xin was released from a rehab center two weeks ago.
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people who complete rehab are legally required to take regular urine tests for three years. 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.
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if all test results are negative for three years, former drug users are officially considered clean. accompanied by chang, wang is taking her first blood test. the results are here.
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>> wang lives in this apartment block. she has just finished her two-year stint in rehab, and now stays with her parents. she has yet to find a job. in her 20s, wang launched a host of businesses, such as restaurants, beauty salons and
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investment firms. but when a friend introduced her to psycho active drugs in 2008, she lost everything.
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>> wang's addiction led to her divorce. her son is now 14 years old. wang's parents took care of her son while she was in rehab for two years. her son was told his mother was quarantined for catching an infectious disease. she regrets the enormous burden she has put on her family.
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>> 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.
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>> applicants for public assistance need to submit various documents, such as family records and income related papers. wang and chang head to wang's local community office.
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>> recovering addicts who complete rehab tend to be insecure about returning to the real world. that's why social workers need to support them. >> wang has now obtained one of the documents needed to apply for public assistance. but this is only a temporary measure for getting life back on track.
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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.
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>> wang says something unexpected.
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>> there is a good reason why wang wants to start her own business. >> wang has decided that it's now her turn to take care of her family.
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monthly counseling sessions are mandatory for the first six months after completing drug rehabilitation. wang. in her career, she has assisted many drug addicts.
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>> wang is pressuring herself to succeed, and show her son who she used to be. today wang drives around town with her social worker, chang. they're searching for somewhere to open wang's dream restaurant. the two spot a sign on a building.
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>> the neighbors come out to chat. >> after searching a little longer, they find a promising property. this is a better neighborhood, and reasonably close to wang's home.
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>> 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.
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>> the bigger the goal, the bigger the insecurity. it may even push wang to turn to drugs again.
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chang visits wang at home. she has decided to adjust the way she supports wang. she does not want her client to feel stressed or frustrated.
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>> it has been a month since wang left the drug rehabilitation center. she visits a government service center by herself. today she submits all the documents necessary for applying for public assistance. it is a vital step that wang now takes. small, steady steps on her own to rebuild her life.
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>> with the help of dedicated social workers, wang hopes to make a full recovery. and one day tell her son the truth about her past.
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host: this week, "global 3000" heads to china, where property prices are sky high, even for rundown apartments. but there's always someone willing to pay. in uganda, chimpanzee poaching is a real problem. we visit a sanctuary helping to heal the scars of traumatized survivors. but first we go to iran where dabbling in drugs can be punishable by death. it's something human rights organizations have been demanding for years, the worldwide abolition of the death penalty. despite this, 58 countries still implement it.


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