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HCM City reaches out to help homeless drug addicts

Update: November, 13/2014 - 09:43
Hua Ngoc Thuan said the drug addicts would be sent to the Nhi Xuan Centre of Vocational Education and Employment in Hoc Mon District and the Binh Trieu Admission Centre of Addicts and Prostitutes in Binh Thanh District. — Photo tuoitre.vn

HCM CITY (VNS) — The deputy chairman of HCM City People's Committee on Tuesday asked agencies to prepare two facilities to accept drug addicts without a stable residence who need detoxification and psychological counselling.

Hua Ngoc Thuan said the drug addicts would be sent to the Nhi Xuan Centre of Vocational Education and Employment in Hoc Mon District and the Binh Trieu Admission Centre of Addicts and Prostitutes in Binh Thanh District.

The decision was made after the National Assembly passed a resolution on Monday to send drug addicts who have no stable residence for detox treatment while they wait for a court decision on whether they must enter a rehabilitation centre.

As of May 31, the city had 19,213 addicts, according to a city police report. Sixty per cent of them do not have a stable residence, and most of them have refused to voluntarily seek treatment at their community-based health centres.

Phan Anh Minh, deputy head of the HCM City police, said the real number of drug addicts in the city was actually higher.

Of the city's 19,213 addicts, nearly 70 per cent do not have a job. Many of them resort to crime to get money to buy drugs and survive, he said.

Tran Trung Dung, head of the city's Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the addicts would stay at either of the two centres for 10-15 days for detox and counselling.

Tran Huu Tham, deputy head of the Nhi Xuan Centre of Vocational Education and Employment, said the centre's facilities could admit 2,700 addicts.

The centre has 21 doctors and nurses who can provide detoxification services and psychological counselling.

In addition, the facilities at Binh Trieu Centre can treat 400-500 addicts.

The city has 14 rehabilitation centres, some of them located in neighbouring provinces, which can treat a total of 33,000 addicts.

Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam, chairwoman of the city People's Council, said estimated funds for detoxification would be VND4 million (US$190) per addict.

"This puts financial pressure on the city, but these funds must be allocated," she said.

Dr Nguyen Huu Khanh Duy, head of the Thanh Da Rehabilitation Centre, said it was difficult to treat drug addiction as patients could easily relapse.

It takes at least six months to two years to recover from addiction, he said.

More than 1,800 of 19, 213 addicts are now being treated with methadone at centres under the management of the Health Department, according to Nguyen Tan Binh, the department's head. — VNS

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