Surabaya. Drug users in Surabaya, East Java have turned to methadone therapy to help them overcome their addiction to illegal substances, according to researchers

Head of methadone therapy at Soetomo regional hospital Surabaya, Sutjipto, said the methadone program was aimed to minimize the danger of intravenous drug use, including HIV/AIDS and gepatitis transmission, which frequently happened because of unsterile needle sharing.

Sutjipto said methadone therapy was chosen by many drug users because the drug has similar effect to heroine and the effect lasts even longer than that of heroine, and therefore the users did not need to inject the drug every few hours.

“Methadone users will only have cravings 24 hours after taking the drug while with heroine they will have another craving 4-6 hours after the injection,” Sutjipto explained.

Methadone is also considered very affordable because the patients only need to pay Rp 10,000 ($0.86) for each treatment while with heroine the drug user needs to spend Rp 100,000 per injection and they need at last four injections every day.

However, some patients undergoing methadone therapy in Soetomo hospital have been complaining about the lack of care for their treatment.

Some patients said that the clinic has been reusing the cups that the patient used to drink their methadone.

“We suspected there have been some people playing around with the budget for methadone stock,” said Abdul Azis, an activist from East Java Action, a non-government organization focusing on drug users’ rights in East Java.

The standard operational procedure for methadone therapy mentions clearly that the cups used for the treatment must be sterile and cannot be shared. This is necessary to prevent tuberculosis transmission.

Tuberculosis has been known as the most common infection among people living with HIV and has been recognized as one of the leading causes of death among the patients.

Theo Zaenuri, from the HIV Program Indonesia (HCPI), said the methadone program is sponsored by many donors, including by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, an international funding organization that supports programs around the world.

In a report, “Support, Don’t Punish,” a campaign calling for the decriminalization of drug users, found that about 50-60 percent of funding for harm reduction measures, such as methadone maintenance treatments needle and syringe programs, are derived from the Global Fund.

By Amir Tejo on 8:55 am November 26, 2013.
Category Law & Order, News
Tags: HIV/AIDS, Indonesia drugs, methadone, Surabaya



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