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7,000 added to list of drug addicts annually in Vietnam: ministry

Thursday, October 30, 2014, 18:18 GMT+7
7,000 added to list of drug addicts annually in Vietnam: ministry
A class for the illiterate among the drug addicts at a drug detoxification center in Bu Gia Map District of the southern province of Binh Phuoc

The number of drug addicts in Vietnam increases by 7,000 every year and the figure stood at over 200,000 as of September this year, according to the labor and social affairs ministry.

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The number of drug addicts in Vietnam increases by 7,000 every year and the figure stood at over 200,000 as of September this year, according to the labor and social affairs ministry.

These statistics were released in a report delivered Wednesday by Pham Thi Hai Chuyen – Minister of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs – at the ongoing eighth session of the 13th National Assembly (NA) in Hanoi.

The report focused on drug addiction issues, drug detoxification, and the management of former drug addicts.

By the end of September, the exact number of drug addicts reached 204,377 nationwide, the report said.

On average, about 7,000 people are added to the list of drug addicts in Vietnam per annum, it added.

The number of drug addicts is on the rise because current regulations cause difficulties for relevant agencies in handling them, Minister Chuyen said. 

According to the Law on the Handling of Administrative Violations, which took effect early this year, drug addicts can be sent to a drug detoxification facility only when a court judgment is issued for this purpose and when the drug addicts fail to kick their habits after being monitored for three to six months by their local authorities.

Such regulations have made it hard to send addicts to rehab centers for compulsory detoxification, the minister said.

As a result, only 33 drug addicts were sent to such facilities in 10 provinces and cities after nine months of the implementation of the law, the official said.

Meanwhile, the number of drug addicts seen in public places has risen significantly, worrying the public, she added.

A few days ago, the Ho Chi Minh City delegation attending the NA sitting proposed the legislature allow the city to apply a special mechanism to directly and immediately deal with drug addicts, while waiting for decisions by competent agencies or court orders before sending them to drug detoxification facilities, as required by the said law.   

The mechanism would permit city centers tasked with coping with social evils to temporarily stop drug addicts' rush of addiction on the spot, offer them preliminary detoxification, and provide them with initial psychological consultancy pending such decisions or orders, Huynh Thanh Lap, head of the delegation, said.   

“This is an urgent solution, as drug addiction is spreading widely, creating anxiety among the general public,” Lap told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Monday. 

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