Methadone: A Flicker Of Light In The Dark

Methadone: A Flicker Of Light In The Dark

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 Vietnam approves wide-scale application of Methadone

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Age : 45
Location : live in Louisiana but attend MMT clinic in Tx
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Registration date : 2009-05-25

PostSubject: Vietnam approves wide-scale application of Methadone   Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:03 pm

Here is another documented case of successful methadone treatment and a public that supports it usage. I know it doesn't concern the US, but it is another pefect example of a country having success with methadone treatment for addiction and where the public can accept it as a valid form of treatment and not oppose it like so many in our country do.

The article was taken from VietNamNet Bridge, Vietnam's first online newspaper. You can find the article at

Vietnam approves wide-scale application of Methadone
22:09' 28/07/2009 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge – Experimental treatment of drug addiction by Methadone in HCM City and Hai Phong has shown good results. Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong told the Health Ministry to widely apply this method.
Of 1431 individuals heavily addicted to drugs in HCM City (642 people) and Hai Phong (749) who have been treated with Methadone on a trial basis in the last one year, most have given up drugs. The remaining people have made satisfactory progress, according to a Health Ministry report sent to Deputy PM Trong, who is also the chairman of the National Committee for Combating AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution.

The report said that the percentage of patients who took opium-based drugs decreased from 100 percent at the beginning of the treatment process to 57 percent after the first month, 30 percent in the second month and only 10 percent in the third month.

The frequency of taking heroin also fell down among drug addicts who took Methadone, from 60 times per month to two times per month. The physical health of patients has also clearly improved. Particularly, the risk of getting HIV and diseases spread via blood has been controlled.

The use of Methadone in HCM City and Hai Phong in drug rehabilitation has shown outstanding results. Thanks to Methadone, drug addicts who had been in the clutches of drugs for a dozen years have been able to bid their addictions farewell.

HCM City Health Department’s deputy director Le Truong Giang said that the city chose the most serious cases, who had almost lost every opportunity to return to normal life, to treat with Methadone. Except for around 5 percent of patients who didn’t take the medicine regularly or withdrew from the programme, the remaining recovering addicts have been very successful and have quickly reintegrated into the community.

“This method of treatment doesn’t separate addicts from the community,” said Giang. “They go to rehabilitation centres every day to take the medicine and return home to be taken care of by their relatives. Changes can be seen very quickly. When they first came to us, they looked very frowzy, but after a few weeks, they looked clean and proper.”

The HCM City Health Department has received hundreds of applications for Methadone treatment. Giang has proposed the Health Ministry widely apply this method throughout the whole country.

According to Giang, methadone is a gentle addictive which is used to gradually replace heroin, a method known familiarly as “habit cures habit”.

Methadone is taken orally so it helps reduce the risk of HIV infection and diseases that are transmitted via the blood. This medicine is not only less addictive than heroin, its users also don’t have to increase the dosage (taken once a day). However, methadone is ineffective for addictions to other drugs like marijuana, valium and cocaine.

The results in Hai Phong have also been very good, said Hai Phong’s Deputy Chairman Hoang Van Ke.

“This lunar New Year, a family brought a car of flowers to the local Health Department to thank the department’s officials for rescuing their child from addiction,” Ke said. “This family had lost hope because this patient hadn’t been able to kick drugs after a dozen times of attempting treatment.”

Hai Phong currently has 5000 confirmed cases of drug addiction and over 2000 people who are suspected of being drug addicts. This rehabilitation method has become known in the city and rehabilitation centres in Hai Phong cannot satisfy all the demands.

Deputy PM Truong Vinh Trong instructed the Health Ministry to widely apply this method and cooperate with HCM City to produce Methadone. Hanoi will be the third locality to treat drug addicts with Methadone.

The Hanoi Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs said that the city has prepared facilities to treat around 1500 addicts with Methadone at six rehabilitation centres. The two first centres will open in September and the four others will open in 2010.

Hanoi Department of Health’s deputy director Nguyen Van Dung said that the six rehabilitation centres will be located in the districts of Dong Da, Hai Ba Trung, Long Bien, Ha Dong, Tu Liem and Son Tay.

Dung also said that nearly 13 billion dong (US$720,000) from international aid will be invested in this programme this year. After that, Hanoi will use the funding from the HIV/AIDS, drug and prostitution prevention programme, around 8 billion dong (US$440,000) per year, to maintain the six rehabilitation centres.

The capital city has 17,600 confirmed cases of drug addiction and nearly 19000 HIV carriers, around 70 percent of whom take drugs.

Methadone has been used in the US since 1965. Since then, it has come to nearly 70 countries in the world.

In 2005, around 585,000 people in Europe were rehabilitated with methadone. In Asia, China takes the lead in using this rehabilitation method, with 503 centres in 23 provinces, attracting over 60,000 addicts. Thailand implemented this method in the 1980s.
VietNamNet/Dat Viet/CAND

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