Sonia joined UNODC in April 2002 working in the areas of Amphetamine Type Stimulant data collection, and HIV as it relates to drug use and in prison settings. She holds an MA in International Conflict Analysis from the University of Kent, UK; and an MA in Intercultural Management from the School of Management (ICHEC), Brussels, Belgium.
Compulsory drug treatment centres (CDT) are increasing in the region. From a regional review, China has 764 CDT and 168 Rehabilitation through Labor Camps with 220,000 and 120,000 people, respectively. Lao PDR has three CDT with 900 residents; Myanmar has 66 CDT with 1500; Thailand had 39 CDT in 2004 increasing to 49 centres in 2005 with 2400 inmates (and 17 'training centres' with 3500 youth). Vietnam has 100,000 people in 80 CDT, while 55,000 in prison. Prison inmates with problematic drug dependence history are over represented; in Thailand these comprise 70 per cent.
The report is based on 19-item survey distributed and filled by Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam, and a desk literature review.
HIV among drug injectors is high in the region; providing drug treatment rather than punishment is accepted. In Thailand, the Drug Addicts Rehabilitation Act provides judges with range of sentencing options, rarely evidence based, for minor drug offences; Methadone or buprenorphine are not offered in custody. Only HIV/AIDS prevention information is provided. Free ARV is offered only in Thailand. Aftercare is not in place; while community involvement in custody is seldom reported.
Incarcerating drug dependent people poses public health risks which increase with lack of aftercare. Relapse rates can be 100 per cent. More research and the implementation of evidence based interventions that respect human rights and increase access to treatment in the community, and alternatives to incarceration of drug dependent people are necessary across the region.