Viet Nam News
NGHỆ AN — Đửa Village is home to only 83 households, but nearly 30 residents have been sentenced to jail for drug trafficking, and more than 20 are registered drug addicts.
Drugs are like a storm sweeping the village, which lies at the foot of Pù Lôm Mountain, Tương Dương District in the central province of Nghệ An, and many families have been separated by imprisonment and addiction.
Village elder Vi Văn Khay does not remember exactly when drugs entered the small village, but does remember the village was very peaceful in the 90s when no one knew what drugs were.
A day he does remember is when several strangers arrived equipped with guns and grenades and set up tents in the village. They offered to pay locals large sums of cash to bring them food and drink, so they were happy to do.
A short time later, they were arrested by police, and it came to light they had been trafficking drugs. But as soon as police had shut down that first gang, another one cropped up almost straight away. Many of the villagers were subsequently attracted by the lucrative offers the gangs were making them, and ended up working for them or become addicted to the drugs they were selling.
A series of altercations have occurred between police and the traffickers since then, and the problem started to get particularly serious in 2002.
Vi Văn Dần, 32, is the head of the Đửa Village and the youngest son of Vi Văn Khay.
Khay told Thanh niên (Young People) the fact Dần had not been tempted by the drugs was a blessing.
When the drugs entered the village, Dần was about 18.
“My friends tried to make me try them, but thanks to my strict father, I decided not to listen to them,” he said.
This boy has lived with his relatives for the past six years as his parents are in prison for trafficking heroin. — Photo thanhnien.vn
Đửa Village now has 83 households, most of which are poor.
Their lives are dependent on the forest.
Drugs entered the village nearly 20 years, but no one has got rich from the trade. Local residents only see separation and imprisonment.
“I escaped the drugs, but many others did not,” said Dần.
A typical example is the family of La Văn T. T’s wife was arrested in 2009 for drug trafficking and received 14 years imprisonment. T and his two sons became drug addicts, and T became so depressed he committed suicide. His two sons also died from drug overdoses.
Another victim of drugs is Vi Văn Đồng.
Đồng said he had joined the resistance war and worked as Party Committee Secretary in Lượng Minh Commune, but drugs were the most dangerous enemy he had ever encountered.
Now at the age of 70, Đồng and his wife are caring for three grandchildren aged between two and eight because their two daughters have been imprisoned for drug trafficking.
Hope for an end
“If I had a wish, it would be to make the drugs disappear from my village, and that no one in the village was imprisoned or addicted,” said Dần.
Đửa Village does not have electricity or mobile coverage, and now it’s even more inundated with drugs.
“Before, local residents never had anything stolen from them. But since drugs entered the village, they’ve been losing everything, from livestock to light bulbs. They steal to fuel their heroin addictions,” said Dần.
A number of educational campaigns have been organised, but nothing has changed.
“The reasons are that local residents do not have stable jobs, so just the slightest incentive is enough to persuade them,” said Dần.
Dần’s dream looks like being a long way from becoming a reality true. — VNS