Saigon official claims drug rehab centers are 'fine'

By Trung Son   December 2, 2016 | 07:00 pm GMT+7
Saigon official claims drug rehab centers are 'fine'
Drug users protest at a rehab center in Dong Nai Province in October. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

The 10,000 patients undergoing rehab are apparently in good hands, despite recent breakouts.

Ho Chi Minh City has a huge number of homeless drug users, but officials said that most have a good life in local rehabilitation centers.

Le Minh Tan, director of the city’s social affairs department, said at a conference on Friday that the city has around 19,000 drug users, and more than 10,000 of them are housed in 12 compulsory rehab centers across the city.

The remainder are undergoing methadone treatment at home.

The city has reviewed its rehab facilities following a series of recent breakouts from centers in the neighboring provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Dong Nai, and all of them are fine, Tan said.

He said the city’s facilities are not overloaded while the teachers and managers are well-trained to support the addicts. They have not been affected by the recent breakouts.

“We treat drug users as patients with chronic diseases, not criminals.”

He said most drug users gain weight during their stays at the city’s facilities.

Vietnam has 132 rehab centers across the country, and there are around 220,000 drug users on official records.

While Da Nang, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have reported no escapes, Dong Nai Province has reported several breakouts in recent weeks.

More than 100 drug addicts escaped a rehab center in the province in early November, two weeks after another incident involving more than 500 addicts.

Officials have blamed overcrowding at the center, which has 1,500 inmates despite its capacity of only 800.

Around 200 inmates also broke down the walls and escaped from a drug rehabilitation center in Ba Ria-Vung Tau in early November.

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