Viet Nam News
Lieutenant General Đỗ Kim Tuyến, Deputy Director of the General Police Department, told the Kinh tế & Đô thị (Economic & Urban affairs) newspaper that the community plays a central role in reducing the number of drug addicts.
Can you explain the challenges in fighting drug addiction crimes?
The biggest challenge is the huge number of drug addicts across the country - upwards of 210,000 known addicts and likely an unknown number of other addicts who have dodged official surveys.
Another challenge is the rampant use of synthetic drugs in Việt Nam. The United Nations has warned that synthetic drugs are hard to control and we also know this from our first-hand experience.
Drug-related crimes are getting increasingly sophisticated, more organised, and more audacious – criminals are ready to use violence against law enforcement officers.
Our work, as high risk as it already is, has been getting more and more dangerous, bloodshed is no longer a rare occurrence.
The best example is the recent busting of a drug ring with police being forced to use guns against the criminals who violently resisted.
Reducing demand is an importance factor in drug prevention and control. How is treatment for drug addicts conducted now?
Reducing demand is one of three “reductions” contained in Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s directive regarding drug control, the other two being “reducing supply” and “reducing consequences.”
Reducing demand is achieved by combined efforts to prevent new drug use, detoxification and rehabilitation of drug addicts, as well as disrupting supply. Over time, we have gained a lot of experience and lessons in drug detoxification, namely that the involvement of local authorities and the community holds the key to success. Because no matter what methods or measures we use to help addicts overcome their drug dependency, the addicts will return home, and this is where it’s determined whether they will relapse. The community must be able to monitor their rehabilitation process, but at the same time, try to remove the stigma against former addicts and create favourable conditions for them to fully rejoin society through good and honest labour that can ensure their livelihood.
I believe, with current policies regarding detoxification methods and post-detoxification management, we can reverse the negative trend and help a great deal in combatting crime in general.
What is the most important element in detoxification?
To set the record straight, it’s not us, but I think the international community is struggling to find that "definitive" treatment regimen.
The Government has tasked the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security, and other concerned agencies to work on a drug detoxification scheme.
The police is requesting the Government and National Assembly to find ways to move "true addicts" into rehabs to isolate them from drug temptations as well as prevent them from creating social disorder, especially crime.
The "true addicts," according to MoLISA’s report, account for 30 per cent of the 210,000 known drug addicts.
I believe obligatory rehabilitation is a viable management measure in communities where the drug situation is not under control.
How will prevention and control of drug-related crimes be conducted, given the rise in large-scale drug smuggling and production?
First, the focus will be on preventing synthetic drugs, an identified threat not by us alone but also by other neighbouring countries.
Second, by intercepting drug supply right at the borders, especially in the border areas of 14 northeastern provinces where 60-70 per cent of all drugs – heroine and synthetic drugs – are smuggled into Việt Nam. We are also stepping up co-operation with Chinese anti-drug authorities since China is considered by the United Nations a "manufacturer of cheap and large amounts of synthetic drugs."
With these focus points, the Ministry of Public Security expects to successfully put drug-related crimes under control. — VNS