Illustraive image (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City is striving to increase the number of drug addicts accessing methadone treatment to 8,000.

Since the methadone programme began in 2008, more than 4,000 local addicts have so far been treated with the drug, with 68 percent of them getting employment.

The current number of medical facilities providing the treatment across the southern hub amounts to 19, most of which are State-run clinics.

By the end of 2016, three more facilities will be put into operation in District 2, District 3 and Can Gio suburban district, helping increase the number of patients using the therapy to 5,500.

District 5 together with Tan Phu and Cu Chi districts are set to join the programme within the first quarter of 2017.

However, municipal health officials said the methadone treatment has been facing budget difficulty due to dropping international aid and State financing in recent years. Given the context, HCM City spent more than 7.6 billion VND (342,000 USD) on purchasing the drug in the 2014-2015 period. The city has also decided to add over 18.3 billion VND (823,000 USD) to the budget for this work this year.

In addition, patients had to pay part of the treatment costs, at 6,000 VND (0.27 USD) for a dose of methadone in 2015. The payment increased to 8,000 VND (0.36 USD) as from June this year.-VNA