|A drug addict is consulted for rehabilitation by a doctor from HCM City’s District 8 Medical Preventive Centre. — VNA/VNS Photo Phương Vy|
HÀ NỘI – The death of a 20-year-old girl on Monday in Hà Nội’s Ba Đình District that was allegedly caused by an aspiring pop singer after the pair reportedly used crystal methamphetamine, raising concerns about the dangers of the drug.
Nguyễn Việt Cường was arrested a day later for allegedly killing the girl by shoving cloves of garlic down her throat in an "exorcism" ritual while they were both under the influence of drugs.
According to police of Hà Nội’s Ba Đình District, Cường, the girl and some friends took drugs late on Monday night, causing them to hallucinate. Cường was supposedly convinced the girl was possessed by an evil spirit so he and the girl scattered garlic around the house and started putting the cloves in their mouths.
Cường then reportedly held the woman down and shoved one clove after another down her throat until she died from suffocation.
Police discovered 33 cloves in the woman’s windpipe and forensic tests concluded that the cause of death was congestion in the respiratory tract.
The case is under further investigation but it has raised fears about the increasing abuse of methamphetamine, particularly among young people.
Cao Tiến Đức, Head of the Việt Nam Military Medical University’s Medical Psychiatry and Psychology Unit, said hallucinations after using methamphetamine were common.
Synthetic drugs directly affect users’ central nervous system. Using the drugs could cause hallucinations, which can lead to violent behaviour, he told Tri thức trẻ (Young Knowledge) online newspaper.
Using drugs like crystal methamphetamine can also harm users’ physical health.
The Hà Nội-based Bạch Mai hospital recently provided emergency treatment to a 16-year-old girl from central Thanh Hóa Province after she slipped into a coma after using methamphetamine.
The hospital’s Poison Control Centre is also treating a 41-year-old male who experienced brain, kidney and heart damage as a result of the drug.
Doctor Nguyễn Trung Nguyên, who runs the centre, told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper that poisonous elements included in crystal methamphetamine could directly attack the heart and cause heart pain and kidney failure as well as attack the nervous system.
Up to 60 per cent of deaths among crystal methamphetamine users were caused by cardiovascular damage, he said.
According to the Ministry of Health’s HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Department, more than 200,000 people nationwide are drug addicts.
Senior Lieutenant Colonel Bùi Đức Thiêm from the Ministry of Public Security’s Anti-drug Police Unit, said crystal meth users have been getting increasingly younger in the last few years, with some starting to take the drug at the age of 15 or 16.
A survey of nearly 600 Vietnamese drug users aged between 16 and 24, published last year, found many of them started to take heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and ecstasy when they were just 12 or 13 years old.
The average age for young people in Hà Nội, Hải Phòng and HCM City to begin using drugs ranges from 16.4 to 17.3 years old, according to the survey.
The survey, conducted between December 2016 and February 2017 by the Centre of Supporting Community and Development Initiatives, also showed that more and more young people are using crystal methamphetamine in the false belief that this substance does not cause addiction. Nearly 40 per cent of the respondents admitted to using it. - VNS