Methadone therapy to be expanded in 2012
16:19 | 24/12/2011

VGP - The Health Ministry will use methadone therapy to help some 15,600 drug addicts in 13 cities and provinces nationwide wean their addiction off in 2012.

Deputy PM Nguyễn Xuân Phúc – Photo: VGP

The number of beneficiaries of the therapy will be increased to 80,000 in 17 localities in the 2013-2015 period.

In 2011, nine cities and provinces had asked for the application of the therapy.

At a recent meeting of the National Committee for HIV/AIDS, Drug and Prostitution, Deputy PM Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked the Ministries of Health, Public Security, and Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to accelerate a project on producing and using methadone in Việt Nam in 2010-2015.

According to the Health Ministry’s report, after the 4 years of pilot implementation, with Hồ Chí Minh City and Hải Phòng City being the pioneers, methadone therapy has been carried out at 41 drug detoxification centers, benefiting 6,441 drug users.

The Deputy PM said he wanted donors to continue providing financial and technical assistance so that the therapy will be adopted more broadly.

Under the detoxification program, drug addicts are to take methadone orally right at a health centre they registered for a certain period. The oral dose will then be reduced step by step to help drug users give up taking drugs effectively.

Việt Nam has recently paid greater attention to methadone therapy, which has been conducted in other countries around the world for years. This therapy can help drug addicts avoid risks of having HIV from other infected ones who shared syringes to inject drugs.

According to many foreign and local experts, methadone maintenance, being oral, breaks the dangerous ritual of intravenous injection, and eliminates the addict's need to commit crimes to pay for drugs.

By the end of June 2011, Việt Nam had recorded 149,900 drug addicts, with 70% being heroin addicts. Up to 68.3% of drug addicts in 2010 aged under 30, compared with 57.7% in 2001. The percentage of women addicts rose from 3.15% in 1996 to 4.5% in 2006.

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