Police hunt hundreds of addicts after rehab escape
VIETNAMESE police hunted yesterday for hundreds of drug addicts who escaped from a compulsory rehabilitation centre, with some using sticks and fire extinguishers to break out.
The communist government decrees up to two years of forced rehabilitation at government centres to try to reduce drug use. Rights groups have denounced poor conditions at the facilities and mass escapes occur periodically.
More than 500 addicts broke out of a centre in the southern province of Dong Nai late October 23, leaving the centre in a shambles after smashing through concrete walls and windows and breaking down doors.
The escapees flooded onto nearby roads, according to footage in local media, prompting officials to urge residents to stay indoors and lock their homes.
“We are still hunting them in fields and surrounding areas. Many have caught taxis and left the province,” said a police officer, adding that the people there are worried.
The Dong Nai rehab centre houses 1500 people, which reports say is double its capacity. It houses both voluntary residents and addicts who have been ordered into the facility.
There are more than 200,000 addicts in the country, where heroin use is rampant, with about 13,000 in treatment centres, according to official figures.