The wider deployment of methadone maintenance therapy to treat heroin dependence in the country was discussed at a conference in central Da Nang city on August 14.

Consensus and coordination among relevant agencies and authorities of 30 provinces and cities with drug addiction hotspots were called for the treatment to be spread farther with higher efficiency, agreed the participants.

The event was co-organised by the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Popularisation and Education and the Health Ministry.

Vietnam has to date recorded 170,000 drug users.

After five years of implementing the “Methadone maintenance treatment” programme, 61 facilities in 30 cities and provinces have treated 14,000 drug addicts.

It showed that after a two-year treatment course, only 14 percent of the patients have still used drugs, 2 percent involved family clashes and only 1 percent committed legal violations while nearly 76 percent of them got employed.

Methadone treatment has proved an economical form as its daily cost is about 15,000 VND (0.7 USD) per person in Vietnam.
The programme has set to provide this drug replacement therapy to 80,000 addicts in 30 cities and provinces by 2015.

To be succeeded, the programme is in dire need of more funding, a stable supply of methadone, competent legal documents and a proficient staff, heard the conference.

Fact-finding tours to methadone treatment facilities in Da Nang were offered to the conference participants.-VNA