Vietnam Health Ministry is planning to open more facilities that supply methadone to treat heroin addicts, after 37 have appeared since 2008.
The number of the facilities has increased from the first two in Hai Phong to the current 39, which are providing free methadone to around 6,000 addicts in Hanoi, Hai Phong, Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa, Hai Duong, Thai Nguyen, Quang Ninh in the northern region, Da Nang in the central, and Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho in the south.
A Tuoi Tre report on Monday said the ministry plans to spread the methadone substitution to 30 cities and provinces until 2015, to help between 50,000 and 80,000 addicts.
The plan would cost VND25,000 (more than US$1) per person per day, with an immediate objective to reduce the number of people getting HIV from drug injections, because methadone is used orally.
Figures from the ministry showed an alarming reality that more pregnant women and young men registered for military duty have tested positive with HIV.
A survey conducted on drug addicts who used methadone between 2009-2010 found that their heroin use dropped by 12.5 percent. They were also found to be less depressed, less pessimistic, and more of them could find a job.