Police in the central province of Binh Thuan Monday proposed prosecutors to charge a drug addict with murder for slashing one person dead and 19 others injured.
A report on the news web site Vietnamnet quoted police as saying that Nguyen Van Tien, 26, took 24 pills of Recotus, a ecstasy-inducing cough medicine, on August 11, one day before the attack.
They said he had a sleepless night that day, and the next morning he asked his mother for money, but was refused.
He then headed to a local beach, planning to commit suicide, but decided against going through with it, police said.
In the afternoon that same day he broke into a house in his Tuy Phong District neighborhood of Phan Ri Cua Town, grabbed two knives and started attacking whoever he saw in the area.
In all, Tien assaulted 20 people, including two local police officers who tried to stop him, according to police findings.
One of them, 46-year-old Nguyen Thi Lien, succumbed to multiple knife wounds.
Police said Tien was a serious drug addict who was once fined for attacking a man while under the influence. Not long before the massive attack, he had switched to Recotus, which was cheap and easily bought, they added.
However, it is not clear if Tien's latest attack happened under the direct influence of Recotus, which contains Dextromethorphan hydrobromide an active ingredient in many cough suppressants but is also commonly abused by drug addicts to get high.
At doses higher than medically recommended, Dextromethorphan, or Dx, is classified as a dissociative hallucinogen with effects that may be similar to ketamine and phencyclidine (PCP).
Although the effects of Dx typically last between four to six hours, it remains unclear whether Tien's binge from the day before had completely worn off, or if he had ingested more pills before going on his violent rampage.
Earlier this month, a group of 14-year-old students were hospitalized in Ho Chi Minh City with dizziness, nausea, and hand tremors after overdosing on Recotus. They shared 30 pills bought by a student.
The medicine was initially used to suppress coughs by some students, but later some of them started feeling high, so more students began taking it for recreation.
Since last year end, local media has reported a trend of Recotus abuse among students.
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