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Nghia takes this shortcut to the Methadone clinic every morning at 7AM for the morning dose as he sets out for a new day. He will be back there at 4PM for his afternoon dose. This personal application of the daily dose was suggested by the doctor after Nghia reporting about sleepiness and drug desire in the morning following the Methadone-taking day. After a year of treatment, he is now on a stable dose and in good health. He has gained back the 15 kilograms lost to drug use and is in his words 90% confident that he will be…

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The Methadone clinic is located next to the commune healthcare centre which provides for better care of the Methadone clients. The demand for Methadone in Thuy Nguyen district is high, according to Mr. Bui Vi The, head of the district Methadone clinic. To date only about half of the known 1200 drug users in the district are covered by drug rehabilitation centre service, community-based drug rehabilitation service and Methadone maintenance therapy.

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Returning home from the clinic, Nghia takes care of the daily house chores including house cleaning, gardening, clothes washing and lunch preparation. He is now a responsible family man and regrets for the past. “I did not dare to look straight at my neighbors and family members. My wife did not get any promotion at work because of me. My elder son’s studying was getting worse and he did not want to talk to me. I am now determined to leave that past behind,” he said.

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Clients are well managed and supported. They need to register before taking the daily dose, and water is readily available to dilute the bitterness of Methadone. Medical check and counseling services are also readily available at the clinic for clients in need. “Staff at the clinic are very nice and always willing to help,” Nghia said, “This Methadone program needs to be extended and expanded so that more drug users can get treatment.” The good management of the pilot Methadone program helps ensure its success but also poses challenges once it is expanded due to the limited human resources and…

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Every noon Nghia’s wife Lien comes home for the simple lunch which her husband prepares. Nghia’s organized and meaningful lifestyle has earned him back the happy family life with the respect of his wife and their two children.

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After one year of Methadone pilot, Hai Phong has provided substitution treatment to 750 drug users in the 3 districts of Le Chan, Ngo Quyen and Thuy Nguyen of which only 20 clients are still using drugs and in the process of dose adjustment. Many drug users and their family members, including Nghia have expressed the willingness to pay if required for Methadone which is estimated to be about VND 7,000/day. “UNAIDS has helped Hai Phong to have a multisectoral coordination program which is essential to successfully pilot Methadone,” said Director of Hai Phong Centre for AIDS Control Dr. Vu…

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