The use of illicit, synthetic substances is increasing in Vietnam, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs, Nguyen Trong Dam told a meeting of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Hanoi on June 26.

Dam was speaking at a meeting to announce the release of the 2015 UN World Drug Report.

He said the use of psycho-active substances (NPS) has emerged in recent years, adding that many drug users purchase supplies via the internet.

The deputy minister said the use of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) is common among young drug users in big cities, border areas and industrial zones, adding that the market for these drugs has developed swiftly in the past 10 years.

"The Vietnamese Government realises that the impact of ATS use is very dangerous in the community. ATS users can even commit murder when they lose control," Dam said.

He said treatment for drug-addicts at State rehabilitation centres in Vietnam has made remarkable progress in the last three years. As of May 2015, there were 162 Methadone Maintenance Therapy clinics in 44 provinces and cities.

More than 29,800 people are receiving treatment, equal to 36.8 percent of the target.

A representative from the Ministry of Public Security said the illicit manufacture of methamphetamines and other synthetic drugs is expanding rapidly in the country.

He said large quantities were trafficked into Vietnam from or through Laos to supply the domestic market and for further overland trafficking to China.

Heroin seizures continued to rise in the first three months of this year with a total of 260kg being seized, an increase of 46kg compared to the same period last year.

In 2014, a total of 922kg of heroin was detected. Heroin remains the most widely used illicit drug in Vietnam.

Seizures of ATS reached more than 144 tonnes in the period 2011- 2012, a two-fold increase against 2009, and remained high in 2013.

By December 2014, a total of 541 new psycho-active substances (NPS) had been reported by 95 countries and territories, an increase of 20 percent against 2013 (450).

The UN World Drug Report said that the percentage of drug users around the world was stable, but opium production was increasing.-VNA