Newsbrief: Addicts Vote with Their Feet on Vietnam's New, Lengthy Mandatory Drug Rehab 6/14/02

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The Associated Press reported that 369 Vietnamese drug offenders escaped from a government-run "drug rehabilitation center" June 6. Police recaptured more than 200 of the escapees, but as of press time, 101 had still evaded capture. The mass break-out from the center at Can Tho, 125 miles south of Ho Chi Minh City, was the third since the government announced in December it was extending the length of mandatory drug rehabilitation from three months to one year.

In December, Vietnam announced ambitious plans to send all 112,000 known "drug addicts" to mandatory treatment by 2005, despite an officially admitted failure rate of 90%. Officials told AP they hope to cut the relapse rate to only 60% in the future. Heroin is the most widely used hard drug in Vietnam, although methamphetamine is coming on strong, as is the case throughout Southeast Asia.

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