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New methadone maintenance therapy programme launched in Muse, Myanmar

Muse (Myanmar), 26 March 2010 - In the presence of senior officials from the government, families of injecting drug users, citizens and significant numbers of representatives of non-governmental organizations (both national and international), on 19 January 2010 UNODC participated and facilitated for the opening ceremony of a new methadone maintenance therapy programme at the general hospital in Muse, Myanmar.

During the ceremony, the chair of the Muse District Peace and Development Council briefed those present about the current status of drug use and HIV-related issues in Muse.

The first seven clients who were referred to the hospital for the new methadone maintenance therapy programme received support through the project entitled - Partnership for the reduction of injecting drug use, HIV/AIDS and related vulnerability in Myanmar.

The first methadone maintenance therapy programme in Myanmar started in 2006, with pilot phases being carried out in Yangon, Mandalay, Lashio and Myitkyina. Today, such programmes have also become available in Muse, in Northern Shan State, and in Tachileik, in Eastern Shan State.

In Myanmar, methadone maintenance therapy programmes are authorized by the Department of Health and can be prescribed only by staff at specialized government centres. Injecting drug users are offered adequate treatment and people living with HIV are provided with antiretroviral medication.