A Slow March from Social Evil to Harm Reduction: Drugs and Drug Policy in Vietnam

Article


Windle, J. 2015. A Slow March from Social Evil to Harm Reduction: Drugs and Drug Policy in Vietnam. Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. 2015.
AuthorsWindle, J.
Abstract

The suppression of drug consumption and trade is high on the Government of Vietnam’s agenda. To
accomplish this goal, Vietnam employs repressive policies that often contravene international human rights
law. Among the most detrimental and problematic policies are the incarceration of drug users in compulsory
treatment centers, and the stigmatization and abuse of consumers by the police. That said, Vietnamese drug
policy is slowly changing in the face of one of Asia’s worst ongoing HIV epidemics. While the Communist
Government of the early-1990s designated illicit drugs as a “social evil” to be eradicated through punitive
and often repressive means, the recent implementation of harm reduction approaches have reduced the level
of needle sharing, and thus HIV transmission.
This briefing will explore the current trends in drug consumption, production, and trafficking before
looking at the key harms and threats associated with drugs in Vietnam. This will be followed by a summary
of Vietnam’s drug policies, including the country’s approach to drug treatment, harm reduction, and illicit
opium suppression—Vietnam is one of a small number of states to have suppressed illicit opium production,
an intervention that centred upon coercive negotiations with limited alternative development. The briefing
will conclude with some tentative recommendations for reform and thoughts on what could be expected
from Vietnam during the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug
Problem (UNGASS 2016).

JournalJournal of Drug Policy Analysis
Journal citation2015
ISSN1941-2851
2194-6337
Year2015
PublisherDe Gruyter
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-NC-ND
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1515/jdpa-2015-0011
Publication dates
Print29 Oct 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Feb 2016
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/8543w

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