INTRODUCTION: The illegal use of narcotic drugs is a problem in many parts of the world.
INTRODUCTION: The illegal use of narcotic drugs is a problem in many parts of the world. In Hong Kong, cross-road of the far east, it's a major problem- with a high cost in human misery and degradation.
SYNOPSIS: For centuries this tiny, crowded British colony has been a steady market for hard drugs like heroin, opium and cocaine. They're easily imported -- for free trade is what Hong Kong lives off, and the drugs are easily concealed. But the problem doesn't stop with the addicts -- they're only the end product. The sale of drugs has vast networks of organised crime behind it -- huge vice syndicates running a whole range of underworld activities from prostitution to police corruption.
In its was against crime, the Hong Kong Government has set up special medical centres for drug addicts -- hoping to limit at least some crime by minimising the market for hard drugs. Addicts are registered and examined by doctors. In the case of heroin addiction, in which there's been a recent rapid increase among the colony's narcotic users -- a synthetic drug called methadon is prescribed. Blood samples are taken, and a daily does of methadon is determined from that.
Each day, addicts report to a centre with their card, and receive a ration of methadone tablets. The drug does not induce heroin's euphoric state, but does avoid the terrible withdrawal symptoms. Methadone enables the addict to lead an apparently normal life -- and in time, with a gradual reduction in the daily dose, users are able to give up drugs altogether . It doesn't work with every addict-- many slip back to using the real thing. But each one cured is a life saved -- for heroin is ultimately fatal.