MMT in Taiwan

Dr K Tan
Tao-Yuan Mental Hospital

Taiwan faced an epidemic of HIV infection in 2005; intravenous heroin abuser contributed 72% of new cases. Methadone maintenance therapy trial for heroin abusers with HIV was introduced by the Center of Disease Control, Department of Health in 2006.

The Tao-Yuan Mental Hospital, DOH (TYMH) established the first methadone clinic and computerized case management system on February 2006. A drug team with psychiatrists, social workers, psychologist, and nurses was set up. Besides giving methadone, drug counseling, crisis intervention, and case management were given to the patients. Because of the success of our program, the Department of Health scaled up the treatment modality to non-HIV heroin abusers from September 2006. Since July 2006, at least 1,000 persons from hospitals learned know-how from TYMH.

At July 2008, there are 71 methadone clinics in Taiwan providing services for 11,796 heroin users every day. The new cases of intravenous drug abusers’ HIV decreased dramatically since 2006.

TYMH is the biggest center, providing services for 1,119 cases in July 2008. We concern our service quality and got a quality award from our government. We use opiate treatment index to measure the treatment outcome. The patients in the program benefit for their health, finance, occupation and family relationship.

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