Ho Chi Minh City’s Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Department on December 26 launched a Methadone-used addiction treatment programme.

Around 200 people who are addicted to various types of addictive substances will benefit from the programme, which is undertaken by the drug detoxification and counseling centre run by the department.

According to the municipal AIDS Prevention and Control Committee, the pilot application of Methadone therapy has brought concrete outcomes in reducing HIV transmission.

As many as 1,334 people are taking the treatment, showing positive changes psychologically and physically.

Vietnam will apply methadone therapy in 80,000 drug users in 30 cities and provinces nationwide by 2015 following the efficacy of the medication as well as its socio-economic benefits confirmed in its pilot programmes.

Five years since the therapy was launched, the nation now has 61 methadone clinics in 20 cities and provinces, treating around 14,000 drug users with no fatality due to excessive medication and unexpected side effects recorded.

After a 24-month treatment course, the percentage of patients, who are at high risk of depression, slid to 15 percent from 80 percent while a mere 1.3 percent commit to legal violations, reported the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Department of the Ministry of Health.

A heath ministry-conducted survey on over 1,000 patients in clinics across Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong, which have piloted the treatment since April, 2008, found 96 percent of them continue with the medication after the recommended treating course finishes while only 15.87 percent relapse into bad habits. Up to 75.9 percent of them now get employed.

The medication has also saved over 1 trillion VND (47.6 million USD) per year for 13,000 addicts in 11 cities and provinces as a drug user used to spend 230,000 VND (10.1 USD) on heroin, meaning nearly 84 million VND (4,000 USD) a year.-VNA