Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Health Ministry’s Vietnam Authority of HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) has announced that it will use buprenorphine to treat nearly 500 drug users in the mountainous provinces of Dien Bien, Nghe An and Son La this year.

The buprenorphine treatment will be expanded in 2018 to some 2,000 drug abusers in Dien Bien, Son La, Nghe An, Thanh Hoa, Hoa Binh, Yen Bai and Lai Chau provinces.

The VAAC said the World  Health Organisation recommends countries use both methadone and buprenorphine in drug treatment. The latter has been used in France since 1995, in Australia since 2000 and the US since 2009.

Both methadone and buprennorphine can reduce law violations and the risk of blood-transmitted diseases, but the latter costs more and should be taken three or four times per week.

The use of suboxone containing buprennorphine has previously been piloted in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. As a result, suboxone users significantly abused less heroin, especially for the first three months after treatment.-VNA