Police-mediated legal and social assistance to people who use drugs in two districts in Hanoi, Vietnam
Keywords:collaboration, community-based treatment, voluntary addiction treatment, police assistance, Police mediated program
The Police Mediated Legal and Social Assistance pilot program was piloted in two districts in Hanoi, Vietnam, between 2018 and 2020. It aimed to strengthen the collaboration between law enforcement and the health and labour sectors and to strengthen the capacity of community services to divert people who use drugs from compulsory residential treatment and support them in accessing medical, social, and legal services in their communities. A total of 204 drug users were referred to treatment and support services by the pilot. Of them, 97 (47%) were referred to methadone clinics and 90 (44%) to recovery support programs, including home-based detoxification and voluntary rehabilitation at state-owned centres. Clients were also assisted in accessing ancillary treatment as needed, such as HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis, mental health, vocational training, legal aid, and social support. Data indicated a high level of satisfaction from all those involved in the pilot. This pilot is the first collaboration aiming to assist drug users, between law enforcement, community organizations, and the health and welfare sectors. It represents a major shift in the evolving drug policy of Vietnam.
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