Drug officials warn about ecstasy pills
Shanghai drug authorities are warning people to be aware of pills with a funny picture, such as a smiling banana, or words like "love" printed on them.
They look like cute mints, but are actually ecstasy.
Officials from Shanghai Political and Legislative Committee said they have seized a number of such pills during crackdown in recent months.
"Ecstasy pills are mainly made in underground workshops, which just disguise the pills as ordinary medicines or print funny pictures to attract youngsters," said Zhang Xiaoqun from the committee.
"The government has issued a recent rule to specially administrate new types of drugs, which are popular in entertainment venues."
The rule specifically refers to ecstasy pills, methamphetamine and ketamine.
Users of those drugs account for 23 percent of all registered drug users in the city, according to police.
So, venues providing dancing and singing are the main target of an anti-drug campaign that started in the middle of November.
If people are found selling or using drugs in nightclubs or karaoke bars, the venues will be shut down for six months and the owner will be fined up to 100,000 yuan (US$12,346), even if the bar wasn't involved in distributing the drugs.
Repeat or serious offenders can lose their business license for good.
Owners can avoid punishment by tipping off police about any drug use on their premises.
By November this year, local police have cracked 276 new drug-related cases in local entertainment venues, netting 872 suspects and punishing 42 businesses involved.