The Health Department of the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum opened a methadone treatment centre for drug addicts in Ngo May ward of Kon Tum City on April 21.

The centre will provide methadone treatment for about 100 drug users this year.

Together with psychosocial therapies, methadone has been proven to be an effective method in helping improve the overall health of drug users, reduce crimes and slow the incidence rate of HIV transmission and other blood-borne diseases.

Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) has been carried out in more than 80 countries and territories for years, benefitting over 1 million drug users.

The programme was initially piloted in Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City in 2008, and then expanded to 32 cities and provinces nationwide, with more than 17,500 patients being treated in 92 clinics.

After a 12-month treatment course, the percentage of patients at high risk of depression dropped to 15 percent from 80 percent. Many gained weight and saw stable physical and mental health. Meanwhile, the crime rate amongst drug users sank to 1.3 percent from 40.8 percent, according to the Ministry of Health.-VNA