DONG NAI, Vietnam, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Police in Vietnam's southeast Dong Nai province are searching for more than 200 presumed drug addicts who broke out of a compulsory rehabilitation center.
About 560 inmates broke out Sunday, some using fire extinguishers and sticks to break walls and windows, but police recaptured about 330. The center holds 1,481 inmates, about twice the center's capacity.
Residents in the province east of Ho Chi Minh City have been urged to stay indoors and lock their doors after inmates began moving through the area. Some officials believe the escaped inmates left the province aboard taxis.
The Vietnamese government estimates there are about 200,000 drug addicts in Vietnam -- 13,000 of whom are in drug treatment centers.
Human rights organizations have repeatedly criticized Vietnam's compulsory drug rehabilitation program. In 2010, Human Rights Watch called the treatment "brutal, exploitative and practically worthless."
"Drug rehabilitation should provide drug users with a chance to regain control of their lives, repair broken relationships, and overcome destructive addictions," Joe Amon, director of health and human rights at the organization, wrote in a statement. "Rehab in Vietnam ruptures the lives of drug users, severs social support, and pretty much guarantees a return to drug use after years of abuse. No wonder drug users are escaping."