A UNODC initiative marked a critical step forward in the implementation of HIV harm reduction in Viet Nam around a decade ago, when the very first doses of methadone were administered in the country through the Opioid Substitution Therapy programme. Today, a brand new UNODC programme to be launched early this year, promises to expand its predecessor’s reach by offering take-home methadone doses.
The increase in autonomy afforded to people who use drugs through take-home doses delivered to their doorstep, will enable clients in Viet Nam to improve their quality of life.
The elimination of transportation costs and commute time associated with in-person visits at methadone clinics, means that the take-home doses will not only help improve the lives of people with substance use disorder – but will also have a positive impact on their families and the community.
“Vietnam has a quite successful methadone treatment programme, expanded to all of 63 provinces,” explains Dr. Hoang Dinh Canh, Deputy Director of VAAC. “However, we can keep only 52,000 patients on treatment out of the cumulative 160,000. As we understand it, geographical and transportation issues remain the biggest barriers for service retention.”