In 2015, 292 types of narcotics and precursors were found in Vietnam. Three years later, this number was 559.
Synthetic drugs like ecstasy, bath salt, LSD, heaven leaf are already popular but some new substances yet to be listed trigger high levels of hallucination, and are easily available. They can also be addictive.
In 2017, there were approximately 223,000 people using narcotics in Vietnam, 12,000 more than the previous year, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
Each year, about 1,600 people die of a drug overdose in Vietnam. A staggering $93.7 million is spent on buying drugs and $44.6 million on running rehab facilities.
In the first half of 2018, arrests were made in approximately 13,000 drug-related cases, in which 18,500 people were detained, and 880 kilograms of heroin, 500,000 ecstasy pills, 1.3 tons of cannabis and 2.5 tons of Catha edulis leaves were seized.
The first six months of 2018 saw 3,500 people test positive for HIV, down 3 percent from the same period last year, according to the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control, Ministry of Health.
However, experts worry that the number of people contracting HIV through unprotected sex when using synthetic drugs can increase among the youth.
Vietnam is a key trafficking hub for narcotics despite having some of the world’s toughest drug laws.