top of page

Facing drug addiction: Vietnam’s struggle with opioids

People Cycling around Vietnam


Dang Minh Hieu, Benjamin Gray, Dang Minh Tuan, Benjamin P Colman


August 29, 2021

Drug addiction is a historical issue in Vietnam. Although Vietnam has a long history as a producer of opium poppies and crossroads for the illicit drug trade, it now has some of the most stringent drug laws in the world. Vietnam has shown some success in reducing the production, trade, and transportation of narcotics.


There has also been a shift in the attitudes of lawmakers and government authorities toward viewing drug abuse as a health problem rather than a social vice. Educating and encouraging citizens to collaboratively reduce drug use has also proven effective. However, despite these changes, the number of people who use drugs has increased in recent years. The US, too, has also experienced an increase in illicit opioid use. The Trump administration declared opioid addiction a public health emergency and has established goals to address the crisis. 

The results of these efforts have also been uneven. This article reviews Vietnam’s efforts to tackle its opioid epidemic, with the goal of identifying areas where Vietnam’s approach to opioid addiction may be improved. A brief overview of efforts by the U.S. government, an important foreign partner for Vietnam in the control of illicit opioids, serves to demonstrate the difficulty of treating opioid use in different political systems.

This research was published in the Drug Science, Policy and Law Journal the definitive source of evidence-based information and comment for academics, scientists, policymakers, frontline workers and the general public on drugs and related issues

For open-access to the full report of this research, see below:

Keep up with developments in drug science

Reading, engaging with, and sharing our publications, papers and commentary gives evidence-based science and policy the audience it needs and deserves.

bottom of page