Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged more drastic efforts to fight drug crimes, while improving drug detoxification programmes.

His request was made at a national video conference held in Hanoi on March 5 by the National Steering Committee for Prevention and Control of AIDS, Drug and Prostitution, which aimed to review the committee’s operations in 2012 and devise key orientations for 2013.

Phuc, who chaired the meeting, required that the committee continue to improve the legal framework for the fields under its charge, and intensify communications campaigns to enhance awareness on the fight against HIV, drugs and prostitution, especially among young people.

He noted that drug crimes have not decreased, which breed other kinds of crimes, while there are hidden risks of new breakout of the AIDS epidemic.

According to the Public Security Ministry, there are over 172,000 drug addicts in 60 out of 63 localities nationwide. 96 percent of addicts are males, of which 50 percent are aged from 16 to 30.

By the end of 2012, the number of HIV carriers who were still alive was 210,700, while the number of living AIDS patients was more than 61,000. In 2012 only, about 14,000 new HIV-infected cases were reported, 6,700 developed full-blown AIDS and 2,000 AIDS patients.

The northern mountainous province of Dien Bien leads the nation in the rate of HIV infection, followed by Ho Chi Minh City.-VNA