Drug rehab director threatens to kill patients in Vietnam: police

By Pham Du   September 30, 2017 | 02:14 am PT
Drug rehab director threatens to kill patients in Vietnam: police
A still image from a video shows Le Quang Son, director of a drug rehab center in northern Vietnam, pointing a gun at a patient.
Police have seized a tear gas gun with five cartridges which he allegedly used to point at several patients.

Director of a drug rehabiliation center in the northern province of Vinh Phuc is facing punishment for threatening to shoot patients with a tear gas gun.

Le Quang Son, Director of the HIV/AIDS Prevention Center in Vinh Phuc, which also provides medication for people with drug addiction, has been accused of pointing the gun at those coming to take medicine on September 23.

A police investigation revealed on Saturday that as Son stood at the gate of the center that morning, he raised the gun at one patient after another shouting: “I’ll shoot you dead if you misbehave.”

After a video of the act was shared online, Son told his superiors that the gun was a toy and that he was only messing with one patient.

His statement was not accepted as police later seized the gun with five tear cartridges.

Police said the center gave Son the gun in 2007 as a supporting tool.

Vietnam has more than 210,000 people with drug addiction, according to figures from the social affairs ministry.

The country originally developed its approach to drug addiction based on the presumption that it represents a “social evil” that can be cured with abstinence and re-education.

Following international criticism, the government established a timeframe in 2013 to gradually replace compulsory detention centers with community-based, voluntary treatment regimens.

The transition, however, has proven tricky given inconsistencies in the legal system, the widely-held belief that drug addiction stems from moral failure and the lack of competent doctors, therapists and equipment.

Nguyen To Nhu, deputy country director of FHI360, an NGO that works on drug addiction and HIV prevention, told VnExpress International that “Addiction cannot be treated by force.”

“It’s a disease that requires lifetime treatment so the patient’s cooperation is key,” she said, following multiple breakouts from rehab centers in southern Vietnam last year.

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