Vietnam: 100 Patients Escaped from Detox Center Being Sought

06 March 2023, Vietnam, Ho-Chi-Minh-Stadt: Mopeds and scooters crisscross a street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Alexandra Schuler/dpa - Photo by Icon sport
06 March 2023, Vietnam, Ho-Chi-Minh-Stadt: Mopeds and scooters crisscross a street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Alexandra Schuler/dpa - Photo by Icon sport

Nearly 200 drug addicts fled on Saturday night following an “internal dispute,” and 94 have already been found. Some escaped through a hole they had drilled in one of the center’s walls.

Race against time for Vietnamese authorities. They are searching for around a hundred patients who escaped from an overcrowded public detox center located in the city of Soc Trang, in the Mekong Delta, as announced by state media on Monday.

In total, following an “internal dispute” that occurred on Saturday night, 191 drug addicts escaped from the center, reported the official police newspaper, Cong An Nhan Dan. By Monday morning, 94 of them had already been located and brought back to the center, but the police and families were still looking for about a hundred individuals, according to this newspaper.

06 March 2023, Vietnam, Ho-Chi-Minh-Stadt: Mopeds and scooters crisscross a street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Alexandra Schuler/dpa - Photo by Icon sport
06 March 2023, Vietnam, Ho-Chi-Minh-Stadt: Mopeds and scooters crisscross a street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Alexandra Schuler/dpa – Photo by Icon sport

According to the same source, the patients reportedly broke down the doors of their dormitory and escaped through both the main entrance and by jumping over fences. Some fled through a hole they had drilled in one of the center’s walls.

Several security guards were injured after being attacked by the fugitives, according to the article. The center also had poor infrastructure, as indicated by local officials, and was overcrowded, with sixty guards for 460 patients, mostly men.

Overcrowded Centers Vietnam has more than 30,000 drug addicts under supervision in public facilities, some of whom are legally required to spend up to two years in closed facilities. Most detained patients undergo harsh withdrawal in these overcrowded centers or are placed in isolation for breaking rules.

Vietnam is experimenting with more options for addiction treatment, but these detox centers remain the most prevalent form. They are widely endorsed by the government and the public, seeing them as a viable treatment option, but addiction specialists argue that they are ineffective, and relapse rates are high.

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