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HCM City determined to fight drugs crime

Update: August, 13/2012 - 14:16

HCM CITY - HCM City authorities hope to reduce the rate of people relapsing into illegal drug use, as part of efforts in the city's ongoing battle against drugs crime.

The city's plan to fight illegal drug use by 2020 with a vision to 2030 was launched today by the HCM City People's Committee.

Authorities aim to reduce the rate of relapse among former drug addicts from the current rate of 17 per cent to 10-15 per cent.

Work on fighting drug crime will continue to see police make drug busts, especially on traffickers of hard drugs such as heroin.

According to Deputy Chief of HCM City Police Ngo Minh Chau, 1,600 traffickers and 6.5kg of heroin as well as more than 27kg of ecstasy were seized during the first six months of the year.

The foreign traffickers recruit Vietnamese women to transport large amounts of ecstasy by plane from Africa, Afghanistan and the Golden Triangle into Viet Nam and from Viet Nam to other countries, he said. Local police have also discovered ecstasy production in the city area.

Chau said police officers face a tough battle as some criminals involved in the production and transport of illegal drugs used high powered weapons to resist police.

Authorities also face a tough task as the numbers of heroin users in the city are rising, and this trend also includes increasing cases of HIV/AIDS.

HIV/AIDS infections are rising as the number of people using heroin increased by 7.7 per cent during the first six months of the year, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

There are now about 170,000 heroin addicts across the country. The figures were released at a conference on curbing illegal drug use in southern provinces held last week in HCM City.

Conference participants also heard that HCM City recorded 49.3 per cent more heroin addicts during the first six months of the year when compared to the same period last year. Elsewhere, in Can Tho City, half of all heroin addicts who underwent detoxification programmes lapsed back into heroin use, while the number of new addicts accounted for just 35 per cent.

Treatment offered by public rehabilitation centres is seen as an effective way for heroin addicts to free themselves of the drug. Attending the centres, the addicts also receive vocation training as well as knowledge on culture and lifestyle.

However, according to the ministry's source, heroin addicts remain hesitant to come to the centres. Some people even wanted to escape from the centres due to the harsh programmes and sometimes unfriendly relations between staff and addicts.

According to Do Thi Ninh Xuan, Deputy Head of the ministry's Department for Fighting Social Crimes, Long An Province's Labour and Education Centre was among the top centres that tailored its training programmes according to learners' needs. As a result, 95 per cent of the centre's members undertook training programmes, including classes on welding techniques and motor repairs. Two thirds of them received certificates of distinction.

Meanwhile in HCM City, ward and district authorities are encouraged to team-up with rehabilitation centres so that the drug users could receive help from local authorities to reintegrate into the community after being rehabilitated.

Nguyen Van Minh, Deputy Head of HCM City's Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Department, urged the centres to plant trees and create fish pond in the centre complexes. In addition, he suggested centres regularly hold entertainment activities, sports and artistic performances to make trainees feel more at home.

He said the city planed to diversify rehabilitation models. Some public and private centres, therefore, would be selected to become service centres, while new community-based centres will also be built.

Nonetheless, the idea to build rehabilitation centres at wards and communes encountered difficulties since few wards and communes have funds for this. In addition, few doctors are willing to work at the commune's centres.

Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Trong Dam said health and public security sectors play important roles in building community-based rehabilitation centres.

The Deputy Minister said the police should be in charge of managing these trainees, with the local heath sector taking care of the addicts' health and the social welfare sector in charge of vocational training and production loans and jobs creation.

Sharing the view, deputy head of An Giang Province's Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Department said that local authorities play a crucial role in preventing former addicts relapsing into drug use.

A representative from Tien Giang Province called on police to more seriously fight drug sales, otherwise authorities efforts would be meaningless. – VNS

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