China, once plagued by rampant opium addiction, has admitted narcotics abuse is rising and announced it will soon open the nation's first drug-treatment center in the capital, health officials said Monday.

Jiang Zuoning, director of Anding Hospital in Beijing's northern outskirts, said a special medical unit will be established at the hospital as early as next month to deal with addicts.The center will deal mainly with patients addicted to "licit, over-the-counter drugs - for example, hypnotics, narcotics, sleeping pills," Jiang said. He said most addictions resulted from poor monitoring by doctors of drug use by patients suffering long illnesses.