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Red tape, lack of funds hinders drug treatment

Update: September, 11/2014 - 08:38
Local workers at a HIV/AIDS and drug rehabilitation centre discuss strategies with volunteers. Many localities have trouble sending addicts to compulsory drug rehabilitation due to burdensome paperwork and lengthy procedures. — VNS Photo Thai Ha.

HA NOI (VNS) — Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam yesterday called on agencies and localities to speed up the treatment of drug addicts throughout the nation.

Dam, also chairman of the National Committee for AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Prevention and Control, hosted a meeting yesterday on the implementation of the Law on Handling Administrative Violations in drug rehabilitation and other issues related to drug prevention and prostitution.

The Law on Handling Administrative Violations in Drug Rehabilitation took effect on January 1. It stipulates that repeat drug offenders must have compulsory drug rehabilitation for one to two years if they relapse after completing community rehabilitation upon the first offence.

However, many localities are reported to have had trouble sending addicts to compulsory drug rehabilitation due to burdensome paperwork and lengthy procedures.

This has created an overflow of drug addicts in the community and is affecting social stability, according to officials.

Statistics from the national committee reveal that Viet Nam has about 142 government rehabilitation centres.

Participants at the meeting said many issues had to be dealt with. They included lack of regulations on the diagnosis of drug addicts, lack of procedural guidance from various agencies and ineffective implementation at the communal level.

Notably, the number of drug addicts using ecstasy has apparently increased, but relevant agencies are not clear on the numbers and are unsure about a treatment plan.

Most participants also called for an end to the lengthy paperwork and for greater co-ordination among agencies, especially in methadone treatment.

Nguyen Hoang Long, head of the Ministry of Health's HIV/AIDS Prevention Department, said methadone treatment reached only 34,000 people, well short of the target of 80,000 for the end of next year.

He added that the health ministry was working on co-ordinating the supply of methadone to needed localities and was certain the target could be met.

The Deputy PM asked the finance ministry to ensure that the state and local budgets could meet the demand for methadone treatment. — VNS

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