The port city of Hai Phong on June 18 launched a clinic specialised in methadone therapy for drug users, marking it the first facility in the country built mainly with the people’ funds.

The clinic was support by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) under the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Vietnam .

This kind of clinic is expected to help drug addicts reduce the frequency of heroine use, especially through injecting, and then give it up by methadone therapy.

With the treatment, there is no need for drug users to engage in criminal acts to support an expensive habit and no longer share needles, the act that can spread diseases like HIV and hepatitis. Patients are more likely to find jobs, heal ties with family, and become stable, productive members of society.

At the opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong said the government has carefully studied methadone treatment in other countries before launching it in the country.

Also the Chairman of the National Committee for HIV/ AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Prevention and Control, Trong said he expected the Hai Phong clinic would be a pioneering model for other localities across the country to learn and apply.

Three similar clinics will open in Ho Chi Minh and the Mekong delta city of Can Tho , and the central city of Da Nang this year.

Vietnam plans to roll out methadone treatment, by 2015, to reach 80,000 drug users of the country’s officially estimated 150,000 heroin addicts, who account for the majority of people living with HIV in the country./.