Drug users fret over expiry date of Suboxone pilot program

After two-year implementation project of Suboxone for injecting drug users in the Preventive Medicine center in Go Vap District in Ho CHi Minh City under the support of the French Governmental Agency ESTHER and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, many drug addicts succeeded in undergoing detoxification to start a new life; however, many of them fretted because of drug shortage and expiry date of the pilot program.

Drug users fret over expiry date of Suboxone pilot program

The health sector has to find effective alternative medication when Suboxone in the pilot program runs out of.
One of injection drug users successful in detoxificating is Th. in Hoc Mon District who have been addicted to drug for over 13 years. His family found out the information of the pilot program; subsequently, he was taken to the Preventive Medicine center in Go Vap District to take Suboxone as per the program.
He said after one-week treatment with Suboxone, he was not addicted to the drug though he spent VND300,000 - 400,000 ($13 -$17.4) buying drug. He got healthier and gained weight. "I start to help my family's business; hence, I feel happier", said Th.
Director of the center in Go Vap District Dr. Nguyen Trung Hoa said that 22 drug addicts are treated with Suboxone in the center and 80 percent of them get success.
In comparison of buprenorphine and methadone, Suboxone has more advantages. Drug users must take Methadone daily because it has 24-36 hour half life while Suboxone has 48-72 hoour haf life so patients can take daily or alternate day in a week.
On the other side, Suboxone has no interaction with Antiretrovirals (ARV) and tuberculosis medication.Accordingly, Suboxone is used to treat drug addiction in many nations in ten past years, said Dr. Nguyen Trung Hoa.
The Suboxone -treated pilot program implemented from May, 2015 with 252 patients but 22 of them are being treated this time. Sadly, the pilot program ended in August, 2017 and nearly one year, 22 drug users receive the remaining drug in stock.

Scientific journals in international conferences highly spoke of the effectiveness of Suboxone in the Preventive Medicine center in Go Vap District with the aim to propose Vietnamese Ministry of Health buying the drug to treat patients, Dr. Hoa said.
People's Committee in Ho Chi Minh City has implemented "The action month against drug", “World Drug Prevention”. This year, a month-long program themed " To protect young generation against drug danger" aimed to increasing information of prevention task and bad effects of drug on young people as well as encourage people to participate in keeping security order in residential quarters.

By THANH AN - Translated by UYEN PHUONG

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