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New detox policy sees theft decline

Update: December, 20/2014 - 10:10
According to the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the city has identified 2,120 addicts since December 5. — Photo cand

Gia Loc

HCM CITY (VNS)— HCM City has seen a slight decrease in the number of thefts, robberies and drug sales two weeks after deciding to send drug addicts without a stable residence to two local centres, according to local police.

The drug addicts without a stable residence were sent to Nhi Xuan Centre of Vocational Education and Employment in Hoc Mon District and the Binh Trieu Admission Centre of Addicts and Prostitutes in Binh Thanh District.

At a meeting held on Thursday, Major General Phan Anh Minh, deputy head of the city police, said that social order and security had improved compared to the last few months.

The number of homeless addicts in the city had also declined, added Minh.

Bui Ta Hoang Vu, deputy secretary of District 8's Party Committee, said that the number of robberies and thefts in the district fell in the last two weeks.

Only six thefts and one robbery were reported in the district, compared to 10-15 thefts and 11 robberies last month, Vu said.

According to the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the city has identified 2,120 addicts since December 5.

Of these, 1,200 were sent to the centres to wait for a court decision on whether they must enter a rehabilitation centre. Thirty-six per cent of 1,200 drug addicts had been using amphetamine-type stimulants.

Most of them came from other provinces and cities, leading to difficulties to identifying their families and residences, said Tran Trung Dung, the department's head, adding that these records were sent to the court.

The court has not issued a decision on whether these drug addicts will be sent from the centres to rehabilitation centres. The high number of addicts and problems setting up medical records has slowed down the process.

Minh said that he asked the Wanted Criminal Police Division to help districts identify the families of the addicts.

Dung said that another centre would also begin to accept drug addicts without a stable residence for detoxification and psychological counselling on December 20.

The centre is the Young People Vocational Training Centre No. 2 in the outlying district of Cu Chi.

However, Minh suggested that the Young People Vocational Training Centre No. 2 should be a place for addicts who have been told by the court to enter a rehabilitation centre, but have appealed the decision.

He said these two centres were not overloaded and could take more people.

Dung added that rehabilitation centre-based treatment for addicts was more effective than community-based treatment.

The city's two-year-old community-based treatment had not proven successful, as admission for treatment was voluntary, Dung said, adding that only 134 addicts with stable residence had volunteered for community-based treatment.

These addicts had been managed by local authorities and had received detoxification and psychological counselling at the Counselling Centre for Drug Addiction Treatment in Thu Duc District.

The city also has four private rehabilitation centres with 442 addicts. The addicts volunteer to enter these centres and pay for treatment services.

The city has had since 2009 nine rehabilitation centres which provide free treatment services to addicts. These centres have admitted 5,055 addicts.

Assistance after returning from rehabilitation centres was very vital, Dung said, adding that the city's assistance had been sub-par and that addicts had easily relapsed.

Dang Thuan Phong, deputy chairman of the National Assembly's Committee for Social Affairs, praised the city for taking measures to reduce the number of homeless addicts and ensuring social order.

He asked the court to add more judges who can examine drug addicts' records and make decisions about sending them to rehabilitation centres.

Phong said he was concerned that problems could occur if addicts stayed at these centres for more than 15 days.

Truong Thi Mai, chairwoman of the National Assembly's Committee for Social Affairs, instructed other provinces and cities' authorities to learn from HCM City's policy to send addicts to vocational and psychological centres, and then to rehab centres if the court so orders it. — VNS


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