200 drug users bust out of Vietnam rehab center

By AFP, VnExpress   August 12, 2018 | 08:46 am GMT+7
200 drug users bust out of Vietnam rehab center
There are more than 220,000 registered drug addicts in Vietnam, according to official statistics. Photo by AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam

Around 200 drug users escaped from a rehab center in Vietnam on Saturday, the latest breakout attempt from the country's controversial treatment facilities.

Some addicts are forced by law to spend up to two years in Vietnam's rehab centers, while others are admitted by family or check themselves in, police said.

Most detainees undergo cold-turkey treatment in the overcrowded centers or are subjected to solitary confinement for breaking rules.

Several breakouts have occurred in recent years and the most recent started on Saturday morning in the southern province of Tien Giang, a police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that about half the escapees had already been captured.

"There are around 100 addicts still on the run and the police are still looking for them," the officer said.

A disagreement with staff escalated into an assault, with patients wielding knives and bricks and encouraging others to break down the door.

Images circulating on social media showed dozens of men, many shirtless, wandering on a highway near the rehab centre.

"They passed my area holding canes and shouted like protesters. When we saw them, me and people around were scared and worried," local resident Le Hai Trieu told AFP.

Residents pitched in to help local authorities capture the men.

Another state media outlet said that more than 650 people are registered at the Tien Giang facility, but it did not provide figures on the number of voluntary admissions.

There are more than 220,000 registered drug addicts in Vietnam, according to official statistics released last year, with heroin and methamphetamine the most popular narcotics.

Early last year 100 people escaped from a centre in southern Long An province because they were upset about spending the annual Tet Lunar New Year holiday away from their homes.

 
 
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