|Preventive health centres in HCM City districts usually work with local authorities to prepare facilities and staff for addicts who have legal residence in the city. — Photo citinews
HCM CITY (VNS) — The head of HCM City's Psychological Hospital has recommended that drug addicts be given mental-health therapy after they complete detoxification services.
Dr Trinh Tat Thang said that addicts who are treated at ward and commune health centres are especially in need of such care.
Ward and commune health centres currently are only responsible for identifying the level of addiction of each individual and suggesting a detox regimen.
Addicts who have a more serious condition are treated with methadone.
Thang spoke at a meeting last Friday on drug treatment for addicts at community-based health facilities.
Thang said that 40-60 per cent of addicts have mental health problems. Those who use amphetamine-type stimulants often become depressed after their detox regimen concludes.
Dong Van Ngoc, representative of the city Department of Health's Medical Affairs Division, said it was difficult to identify the severity of addiction because of the lack of qualified staff and facilities.
For this reason, the Psychological Hospital has opened short-term training courses for staff to improve basic knowledge about drug addiction.
It will also open more courses on drug testing, detoxification and recovery methods for addicts, Ngoc said.
Preventive health centres in HCM City districts usually work with local authorities to prepare facilities and staff for addicts who have legal residence in the city.
A representative of a preventive health centre in Binh Thanh District said few addicts voluntarily go to ward and commune health centres for treatment because of the high costs.
The first month of treatment costs VND2.7 million (US$128) and gradually increases to VND3.4 million in the second month and VND4.3 million in the third month.
The city has also sent a group of members of the city's People's Council to check the admission of addicts without a stable residence at three designated centres.
The three centres are Nhi Xuan Centre of Vocational Education and Employment in Hoc Mon District, Young People Vocational Training Centre No. 2 in the outlying district of Cu Chi and the Binh Trieu Admission Centre of Addicts and Prostitutes in Binh Thanh District.
The addicts are sent to these centres while they wait for a court decision on whether they must enter a rehabilitation centre. At these centres, they receive detoxification and psychological counseling services.
Nguyen Huu Tai, deputy head of the city's Social Evils Prevention Division under the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the city has identified 3,200 addicts since December 5.
It has sent more than 1,800 addicts without a stable residence to the three centres since December 5.
These centres, however, have had difficulty identifying the families of addicts, and 300 of them have had to live at the centre for more than 30 days.
Under the law, they are allowed to stay for detox and counseling for no more than 30 days.
Tam said that sending these addicts to the three centres had helped ensure social order and reduced the number of homeless addicts.
Currently, the city has more than 19,000 addicts. — VNS