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Tuoi Tre seminar offers solutions to drug detoxification problems in Vietnam megacity

Tuoi Tre seminar offers solutions to drug detoxification problems in Vietnam megacity

Saturday, November 01, 2014, 15:01 GMT+7

Many practical solutions were proposed by the participants in a seminar organized on Friday by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on how to improve the problematic drug detoxification work in Ho Chi Minh City.

>> 7,000 added to list of drug addicts annually in Vietnam: ministry >> Vietnam lawmakers appeal for rights to detoxify drug addicts pending court judgments>> Voluntary drug detoxification a flop in Vietnam In the past several years, the city authorities have taken many measures to better detoxify drug addicts, such as drug detoxification at designated centers or at home, detoxification combined with psychological consultancy, and the isolation of drug addicts for detoxification, but their efficiency have not been as high as expected because of different difficulties. Therefore, Tuoi Tre held a seminar yesterday to seek new solutions to this issue. Speaking at the powwow, Le Van Tam, deputy head of the office in charge of drug detoxification and rehabilitation under the city’s Sub-Department of Social Evil Prevention and Control, said that according to the current laws and regulations, three types of drug detoxification can be adopted. First, addicts are detoxified at home or health centers; second, addicts are monitored in their localities for 3-6 months; and lastly, addicts are sent to compulsory drug detoxification and medical treatment centers. However, the application of all three methods has not been as effective as expected because of such challenges as a shortage of staff in drug detoxification and health services and a lack of qualified detoxification centers, Tam said.

These obstacles should be removed and coordination between agencies concerned should be strengthened to improve the efficiency of the drug detoxification work, he suggested. Meanwhile, Nguyen Van Chung – head of the District 3 People’s Procuracy – blamed the current ineffective drug detoxification work on several other obstacles, which he said should be surmounted as soon as possible. Firstly, there are almost no doctors in charge of drug detoxification, while they are badly needed to handle drug addicts both at home and rehab centers. Secondly, admitting drug addicts to rehab centers must be preceded by very complicated paperwork, with 26 forms issued by the Ministry of Justice being filled.     In addition, it is unclear as to which agencies – police or the labor, war invalids, and social affair departments – should deal with such forms.

The seminar held at Tuoi Tre on October 31, 2014 to discuss solutions to drug detoxification problems in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Thirdly, under the Law on the Handling of Administrative Violations, addicts homeless or having no legal residence will be sent to social organizations for supervision for 30 days before being transferred back to their original localities for detoxification. But it is not clear what such “social organizations” are, and who will cover the costs of keeping these addicts for such a period, Chung said. Tran Van Thong, who is in charge of drug detoxification at the District 4 Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs Office, emphasized that drug addiction is both a disease and a social evil so it is necessary to work out uniform solutions applicable to both. “In District 4, we are working with families of drug addicts to boost the efficiency of drug detoxification at home. At the same time, we encourage addicts themselves to register for admission to drug rehab centers,” Thong said. He added that the district health authorities also assess the addiction levels among the addicts and put them in groups before applying suitable methods of detoxification. “We also encourage people subject to drug detoxification to join clubs or social groups, or take part in other social activities, with a view to helping them re-integrate into communities easier,” he said. Meanwhile, Bui Quang Thuy, who was a drug addict for 40 years, suggested methadone, a pain reliever and a part of drug detoxification programs, should be used more widely for addicts.  Thuy also said drug addicts need to be supported by communities and social organizations in kicking their habits and re-integrating into society. Chu Thai Bao, another former drug addict, said medicines and other therapies that help facilitate drug detoxification contribute only 30 percent to the success of the work. The remaining 70 percent is drug addicts’ own determination and support from their families and communities, Bao underlined.

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