City shortage of methadone hurts recovering addicts

Drug addicts in HCM City are suffering because de-addiction centres are unable to procure the required amount of methadone, local reports say.

A Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper report yesterday quoted Mai Thi Hoai Son, a member of the HCM City Committee for AIDS Control, as saying international programmes helping drug addicts were not providing sufficient quantities of methadone to Vietnamese clinics.

Methadone is a drug that has proved effective in treating opiate addiction. City authorities had recently approved a plan to increase the use of this drug in detoxification treatment.

The plan expects to treat 4,000 people with methadone by the end of 2014 and 8,000 people by the end of 2015, but these targets are proving difficult to achieve because of the supply shortage.

Son said the City has approved the committee's proposal that the sum of VND 7.7 billion (US$366,000) be earmarked to buy methadone and help the centres, but approval for the purchase was still pending.

She explained that proposal submitted to the department contained some drugs restricted by City administration earlier, and this was creating delays in obtaining the approval.

Under the proposal, the methadone received from international aid programmes would be supplied free to those needing treatment, but a fee of VND10,000 ($0.47) per dose would be charged for additional supplies.

While the committee waits for the proposal to be approved, the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS has decided to supply HCM City authorities with additional methadone, the Tuoi Tre report said.

Of this, the HCM City Committee for AIDS Control will receive methadone to treat 3,000 addicts in Districts 1, 12 and Binh Tan.

HCM City currently has eight methadone treatment centres in seven districts, and authorities have plans plan to build more in the remaining 17 districts.

Vietnamnews

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