Ho Chi Minh City has launched a center for drug users with the use of Suboxone, the first facility in the country to offer this treatment option.
Sponsored by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse and the French GIP ESTHER (Network for Therapeutic Solidarity in Hospitals’ Public Interest Group), the center in Go Vap District plans to offer treatment to 200 drug users in the next two years.
According to Dr. Le Truong Giang, chairman of the Public Health Association, drug users will be supplied with free doses in a year.
“After two years, relevant agencies will assess the program for further expansion,” he said.
Ho Chi Minh City has more than 19,000 documented drug users.
According to Dr. Nguyen Tan Binh, director of HCMC Health Department, injection drug use has prompted spreads of HIV, Hepatitis B and C in the community.
The city has offered Methadone treatment for more than 2,000 drug users since April 2014.
Suboxone is a prescription medication that can help treat heroin addiction and dependence on other opiates. It is a combination of buprenorphine, which can be used as a stand-alone treatment for opiate dependence, and naloxone, which is used to treat opiate overdose.
By combining buprenorphine and naloxone in a single tablet, Suboxone may relieve heroin withdrawal and act as a deterrent to injecting.