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Junkies riot because of overcrowding at southern Vietnam rehab center

Thursday, November 17, 2016, 16:55 GMT+7

Nearly a thousand drug addicts at a rehabilitation center in the southern Vietnamese province of Dong Nai have continued to cause chaos at the facility; demanding their freedom and citing overcrowding as the primary reason.

Junkies assembled at the yard and climbed on roofs within the center’s premises, yelling and demanding their early release on Monday morning.

The mob of rioters threw rocks at police officers, before attempting to rush to the main gate to escape, resulting in police using tear gas to control them.

Some overly aggressive rebels were also apprehended for their threats.

An urgent meeting was convened in Dong Nai later the same day to resolve the issue, chaired by Dao Ngoc Dung, Minister of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs.

At the gathering, Ho Van Loc, deputy director of the provincial labor department, explained that some 34 junkies had been granted an early release due to their fatal diseases on Sunday, which angered their fellows.  

Over 160 addicts decided to break out of the facility on the same day, of whom 63 had been brought back, Loc said, adding that the junkies began the chaos again on Monday.

“Detention officers have tried to persuade the rioters with their loudspeakers, which did not seem to be effective,” the official said.

The incidents are rooted in the fact that the rehab center has degraded and is overcrowded, Loc continued.

While the maximum capacity of the venue is 900, it is now housing nearly 1,500 junkies, 80 percent of whom are synthetic drug addicts and ex-convicts, he elaborated.

“The drug abusers have to live in confined spaces as a result, which upset them. Groups of rioters started to form despite our efforts to shut them down,” the deputy director stated.

According to Colonel Bui Huu Danh, deputy director of the provincial Department of Police, construction to expand the facility must be expedited.

More detention officers should also be added for better management of the junkies, Danh said.

Temporary release

According to Minister Dung, the rehab center is overloaded and many of its amenities are not in good shape.

Local authorities should consider returning some 200 addicts to their families, Dung suggested, adding that those with sickness and family bail could also be temporarily released.

The minister ordered local police to identify and punish those who provoked others to riot as per the law.

The rehab center should be expanded and the junkies be thoroughly categorized to ensure their living conditions and safety, Dung continued.

A new center must also be constructed in the province as a long-term solution, he said, adding that detention officers and security guards should be added and provided with better incentives.

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