Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Methadone clinic set to launch today



Methadone clinic set to launch today

Methadone clinic set to launch today

THE Kingdom’s new methadone clinic for heroin users is set to open today after a soft launch beginning in July that officials say has led to marked improvements in patients’ health and responses to treatment.

Chhit Sophal, the head of the clinic, which aims to reach 100 patients by the end of the year, said yesterday that 61 had enrolled in the methadone programme since it began on July 1, and that most seemed to have benefited from it.

“Patients looked pale and weak. After the treatment, they are speaking well, and eating well,” he said. “They are injecting less than before. Before, they used to inject four times a day, now sometimes it is not at all.”

The programme, referred to as Methadone Maintenance Therapy, replaces heroin with controlled doses of methadone, a synthetic opioid that has similar effects. Proponents say MMT allows drug users to stabilise their lives and decreases the risk of HIV transmission through use of shared needles.

On Sunday, Graham Shaw, a World Health Organisation technical adviser on drug use who designed the pilot programme for methadone therapy, said a heroin user participating in the programme had died. Officials have been unable to determine whether the death was methadone-related.

Yesterday, Shaw said the success of the soft launch could be measured by the high number of people who wanted to enrol as well as the low dropout rate. “NGOs are reporting that more and more people want on the list,” he said. “There are also links being made between a decrease in HIV and tuberculosis transmission, which is good.”

He said the international average dropout rate for patients enrolled in similar methadone programs is 30 percent. During the soft launch, just four failed to complete the treatment.

Patients are considered dropouts if they have missed more than four straight days of doses, at which point they need to “start from scratch” and be reassessed, Shaw said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting