Vietnam Uses Methadone as Drug Substitute
March 29, 2007
Vietnam's Health Ministry has approved a foreign-funded pilot project to use methadone substitution for 700 drug addicts in northern Hai Phong city through December 2008, the local newspaper Youth said Monday. While methadone substitution is a commonplace therapy for heroin injectors in many countries, this is the first time Vietnam's ministry has allowed its use to rehabilitate IV drug addicts.
The project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the UK Department for International Development, involves giving oral methadone to patients instead of heroin and eventually weaning them off methadone. This can break the cycle of IV drug use and decrease crimes committed to pay for illicit drugs. After a period of therapy, patients undergo methadone withdrawal instead of the more severe heroin withdrawal. Vietnam hopes it will help curb the spread of HIV/AIDS among IV drug users, who often share injecting equipment.
According to the country's Ministry of Public Security, Vietnam had 160,226 drug addicts in late 2006, over 70 percent of them ages 18-35. New figures show the country has more than 114,000 HIV cases, 95 percent of whom are ages 15-49.
Vietnam is working to reduce its HIV/AIDS infection rate among its 85 million people to under 0.3 percent by 2010.
Xinhua News Agency
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.