Rehab Program Cuts Drug Use, Crime, and HIV

The national Post-Drug Rehabilitation Management Program should be improved and extended as it has achieved significant success after five years of operation, said participants at a National Assembly sitting in Ha Noi Thursday.

It was suggested that addicts who have finished compulsory rehab should be returned to the community while those at risk of returning to drugs should be put under the surveillance of rehabilitation centers.

If the proposal is put into practice, further financial support should be given to the rehab centers as the facilities have limited budget.

Some assemblymen objected to a proposal stating that instead of putting rehabilitated addicts under management, the compulsory rehabilitation program should be extended for an additional year even if that means higher costs.

Seven provinces and cities – Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, the northern province of Quang Ninh, the southern provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tay Ninh, Long An, and Binh Duong – take part in the program.

More than 32,200 rehabilitated addicts, including almost 30,700 from HCMC, had been transferred to the post-drug rehabilitation period by the end of March, according to a program report.

HCMC, the first locality to implement the program, has seen a significant reduction of crime. The number of criminals has dropped from 16,000 in 2001 to 9,000 in 2006.  The HIV infection rate in high-risk groups has reduced from 66 percent of all addicts in 2003 to 45 percent three years later. 

The city also has a community reintegration program for more than 11,500 rehabilitated addicts, 70 percent of whom have been employed after returning to their hometown. Only 6 percent have return to drugs. 

Ha Noi, where the program was implemented later, has also achieved remarkable success recently.

However, other provinces and cities are facing difficulties in implementing the program due to budget limitations.

Source: SGGP – Translated by Khanh Hong & Kim Anh

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