New law hinders rehab efforts

Update: August, 30/2014 - 09:11

HCM CITY (VNS)— Certain provisions in a new law on administrative violations that took effect ast July is causing difficulties in running rehabilitation centres for drug addicts and providing community-based treatment, HCM City authorities told the National Assembly's Committee for Social Affairs during their working session on Wednesday.

For instance, ward-level health clinics, which are in charge of community-based treatment, do not have enough specialised doctors or equipment for drug detoxification.

Besides there is low awareness of community-based treatment among people and even official agencies.

The requirement that courts need to approve drug addicts' admission to rehabilitation centres means the city's 17 centres have not admitted many of them for treatment since the Law on Handling of Administrative Violations took effect.

The city, which has more than 7,400 addicts in the centres, hopes to admit 4,500 more this year.

According to the police, nearly 70 per cent of robberies are committed by drug users. Tran Hai Dang, deputy head of the Vocational Training and Education Centre for Young People No.2 in Cu Chi District, said the centre had yet to receive any inmate this year.

Nguyen Van Dung of the city police said there were 19,213 drug users in the city as of May, with more than 75 per cent of them not having jobs and a large number being homeless.

The number of addicts relapsing into drug use is more than 50 per cent, according to the department.

Tieu Thi Thu Van, head of the AIDS Prevention Committee, said this year the city earmarked VND7 billion (US$333,300) for buying methadone.

There were plans to build five more methadone treatment centres this year, taking their number to 13, she said, adding that the number of addicts treated using the drug substitute would then rise to 8,000 from 1,600 now.

Huynh Cong Hung, head of the city Committee for Cultural and Social Affairs, said it was important to provide jobs for addicts who are cured at the rehabilitation or community centres.

The Nhi Xuan Industrial and Urban Complex in Hoc Mon District was set up in 2006 to create jobs for cured addicts and more than 3,000 of them were hired.

However, only 12 remain, with the rest having stopped working for various reasons.

At a meeting with the city Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Dang Thuan Phong, deputy head of the NA Committee for Social Affairs, wanted to know the reason for this.

The rehabilitation centres should do a survey on inmates' need for vocational training, he added. — VNS