Ho Chi Minh City authorities are cracking down on drugs, especially methamphetamine, whose use is becoming rampant.
The police have been ordered to search for drug users and keep a close eye on bars, hostels, dance clubs, and music festivals to prevent drug use at these places. Heroin has long been the common drug in Vietnam, mostly among older men, but the use of synthetic drugs like meth is on the rise especially among a growing class of hard-partying youth.
Courts and prosecutors have been asked to throw the book at drug pushers to increase deterrence, and quickly send addicts to rehabilitation centers.
The authorities said the drug scene is becoming problematic, with the city becoming a transit point for drugs thanks to its logistics and infrastructure.
Criminals are becoming more professional in their methods and change storage and distribution locations frequently, they said.
In March the city police made three major busts, seizing almost 900 kilograms of methamphetamine and heroin.
All of them originated in the Golden Triangle, an intersection of China, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. In two of the cases they were on their way from HCMC to Taiwan and the Philippines.
Last month, they seized another 1.1 tons of meth and arrested two Taiwanese men for investigation.
The city has 23,000 addicts on its database, but said the actual number could be much higher. New addicts are younger and use a variety of drugs, especially meth, and their addiction is the cause of a number of recent murders and robberies, it said.
On Tuesday a 29-year-old man allegedly murdered his grandmother, mother and aunt while he was high on meth. In March a 26-year-old man used meth and killed his parents and grandmother and girlfriend’s grandmother.
Vietnam has become a key trafficking hub for narcotics around the Golden Triangle, the world’s second-largest drug producing region.
The country also has some of the world’s toughest drug laws. Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of meth face death.