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100 Drug Users Flee Vietnam Rehab Centre, Massive Manhunt Launched

More than 30,000 drug addicts are undergoing compulsory treatment in Vietnam (representative)

Hanoi, Vietnam:

Vietnamese authorities are searching for about 100 drug users who escaped from an overcrowded state-run rehabilitation center in the Mekong Delta, state media reported on Monday. More than 30,000 drug addicts in Vietnam are undergoing compulsory treatment in government facilities, with some forced by law to spend up to two years indoors.

Most detainees receive harsh treatment in overcrowded facilities and have been placed in solitary confinement in the past for breaking rules.

191 addicts escaped from a rehabilitation center in the southern city of Soc Trang following an “infighting” on Saturday night, the official police spokesperson Cong An Nyan Dan newspaper reported.

By Monday morning, 94 had been found and brought home. According to the paper, police and family members are still searching for about 100 people who are still on the run.

The addicts reportedly fled the center by breaking down the dormitory door and jumping over the building’s iron fence through the main entrance.

Some detainees escaped through holes cut in the facility’s walls.

The report added that several security personnel were injured in the attack by the fugitives.

State media, citing local officials, said the center’s infrastructure was poor.

The facility was also overcrowded, with only 60 guards in charge of more than 460 drug addicts, most of them male.

Local authorities declined to provide further details about the escape when contacted by AFP.

Although Vietnam is experimenting with more community-based treatment options in response to criticism of rehabilitation centres, they remain the most used means of recovery.

Although these centers are widely supported by both the government and the public as an effective treatment option, addiction experts say they are ineffective and have high relapse rates.

According to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, “more than half of these facilities lack adequate infrastructure and equipment.”

In 2018, about 200 drug users escaped from a rehabilitation center in the southern province of Tien Giang.

A year ago, 100 people, angry about spending the annual Tet New Year holiday away from home, fled a center in nearby Long An province.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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