VGP - Việt Nam plans to use the methadone therapy to detoxificate some 80,000 drug addicts by 2015, applying it in 13 cities and provinces from 2010 to 2012 and at least 17 localities in the 2013-2015 period.
According to the latest report of the Health Ministry, by February 15, the therapy had been applied in 11 cities and provinces nationwide, at 41 drug detoxification centers with some 7,500 drug addicts.
The Ministry said that the rate of the detoxificated addicts re-using drugs has dropped considerably. After 24 months of treatment, only 14% of drug addicts are still tested positive to drugs. The rate of people facing depression has dropped from 80% to 15% after 12 months of treatment.
The therapy has helped drug addicts improve health (gaining weight, lowering death risks due to drug over-dose...) and have positive changes in behavior. Many detoxificated addicts have found jobs, no longer causing troubles for their families and residential areas.
The therapy has also helped reduce HIV infection in the community. After 24 months of therapy implementation in Hải Phòng and Hồ Chí Minh City, only 5 new HIV infections have been detected.
However, the implementation of the therapy faces difficulties, mainly due to shortages of capital and methadone. The country is now unable to produce methadone, having to import it through cumbersome procedures.
According to international organizations’ recommendations, the methadone therapy really works when at least 40% of existing drug addicts undergo it. By the end of 2011, Việt Nam had applied the therapy to only over 7,000 people, or nearly 12%.
By Ngọc Vân