The program aims to help drug addicts in mountainous and disadvantaged districts and increase the prescription of buprenorphine by general practitioners.
According to head of the HIV/AIDS Prevention Department Nguyen Hoang Long, over 54,000 drug users are being treated in the Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) therapy.
However, though MMT has been proven to be effective and cost‐effective in treating dependence on opioids, people have to go to medical clinics everyday, the geographical barriers and patients’ mobility may hinder access to MMT, especially in rural and mountainous areas whereas if they are treated with Buprenorphine, they go to centers after 2 or 3 days.
Accordingly, the Ministry decided to replace Methadone with Buprenorphine which is safe and effective when used according to medical workers’ prescription.
At first, the program will be implemented in seven provinces where there are most drug addicts. Rehabilitation centers will prescribe the new drug for approximately 1,000 drug users. Then the Ministry will assess the program’s effectiveness to widely implement countrywide later.