Hoa Binh starts Methadone treatment

HOA BINH (VNS)– A medical clinic using Methadone maintenance treatment was opened in northern Hoa Binh Province yesterday, said the Health Ministry's Deputy Head of HIV/AIDS Prevention Department, Pham Duc Manh.

The clinic, the first one of its kind in Hoa Binh, was funded by both the Australian and Netherlands governments through the HIV/AIDS Asia Regional Programme in Viet Nam.

Methadone therapy is claimed to be the most effective treatment for heroin dependence. It is said to keep people in treatment therapies and reduces HIV transmission, criminal behaviour, drug-related morbidity and deaths from overdosing.

The provincial clinic is expected to help 50 addicts give up heroin this year alone. A second clinic is planned to help 350 drug users in Mai Chau District from 2013-15.

Statistics show there are nearly 1,200 HIV carriers in the province. HIV/AIDS has spread to all districts and 70 per cent of communes, wards and towns.

Methadone treatment was started in northern Hai Phong City and HCM City in 2008. Clinics will be opened in 30 cities by 2015.

In Viet Nam, the average daily cost of methadone treatment is VND15,435 (US$0.74), half of which is spent on medicine. The cost is expected to fall once Viet Nam is able to produce methadone in 2015 for the nation's 80,000 or so drug users. – VNS

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