A meeting was held in the northern province of Hoa Binh in response to the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and Vietnam’s Anti-Drug Day (June 26).

Co-organised by the Government's Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) and the provincial People’s Committee, the meeting aimed to intensify anti-drug work in ethnic group areas.

Addressing the event, CEMA Vice Chairman Nong Quoc Tuan said drug-related crimes and the re-planting of opium trees are still complicated in ethnic group areas, especially those along National Road 6A and bordering with Moc Chau district in Son La province.

He emphasised the need for the province to pay much attention to drug prevention in areas inhabited by ethnic minority people, especially encouraging locals to actively engage in the fight and boost economic development in combination with ensuring security and defence.

As it is a severe, complicated, both urgent and long-term fight, Tuan asked Hoa Binh, which serves as a gateway for the northwestern region, to step up popularisation and education on drug prevention, especially the harmful effects of methamphetamine.

After the meeting, more than 500 officials, youth union members, armed forces and people in mountainous Mai Chau district joined a march to raise public awareness of drug prevention and fight.

Vietnam now has nearly 200,000 drug addicts, 96 percent of them are men. Hoa Binh province alone records more than 1,600 drug users in 120 communes.-VNA