|Statistics from the ministry show that nearly 14,000 drug users in 21 provinces received methadone treatment in the first half of this year.— File Photo
HA NOI (VNS)– Drug addicts treated with methadone were much less inclined to break the law, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said yesterday.
Long was addressing an online conference to review the last six months of the fight against AIDS, prostitution and drug addiction, held in Ha Noi.
He said that after 24 months of treatment, the ratio of drug addicts who broke the law had fallen from 40.8 per cent to 1.34 per cent.
The ratio for those in conflict with their families also fell from 90.36 per cent to 2.27 per cent.
Statistics from the ministry show that nearly 14,000 drug users in 21 provinces received methadone treatment in the first half of this year.
Similar projects around the world have shown that one dollar spent on methadone treatment can save seven or more dollars in terms of health-care costs or crime prevention expenses.
The daily cost for methadone treatment is about VND15,500 a head. A survey in 11 provinces showed that before methadone treatment, drug users were spending about VND230,000 a day on drugs.
Online participants agreed that the biggest challenge to the success of the methadone treatment programme in Viet Nam was to secure adequate supplies of the heroin substitute. Up until now, it has been mainly been provided by donors.
Currently 36 provinces have drawn up programmes to provide the treatment.
At the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked agencies to persist with goals and measures to fight HIV/AIDS, drugs and prostitution which were on the rise in remote northwestern and central provinces.
He called for tougher inspections and prosecutions.
Phuc local authorities to compile and spread anti-drug and prostitution documents, use the State budget in a cost-effective way and mobilise social resources and international aid.
They were also told to promptly submit to the Government projects on renewing drug detoxification schemes and assisting localities in building community-based rehabilitation models.
Phuc asked the Ministry of Public Security to work with agencies to detect and crack down on drug crime, including the smuggling of drugs into Viet Nam.
Reports show that the illegal drug trade has grown dramatically, particularly along the borders. Since the beginning of this year, police have investigated more than 10,000 drug-related cases involving 15,000 people.
The number of HIV/AIDS-infected people is lower than for the same period in 2012. However, the sexual transmission of HIV is increasing, especially among women aged 30-39. - VNS