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China Offers New Drug Addiction Treatment
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China's Ministry of Health will use Suboxoner to replace methadone in the treatment of some drug addicts in Guangxi and Xinjiang Autonomous Regions.

The drug treatment experts say many drug addicts misuse and become addicted to methadone, while others are allergic to it. This has led the ministry to offer Suboxoner, a British-made medicine, to treat addicts.

The ministry has urged health departments in the two regions to carefully use the new medicine and study the effectiveness of Suboxoner.

The ministry says the new medicine is supposed to be safer, easier to manage, and less likely to be misused.

Local health departments have been asked to sign agreements with the addicts who are to be treated with the new medicine, so the addicts are aware that Suboxoner is experimental.

The addicts' personal information will be kept confidential, said the ministry.

Methadone has been used to treat drug addiction in China for years. Some 36,000 addicts had received methadone treatment by the end of 2006, according to statistics from the Ministry of Public Security.

China now has 460,000 registered drug addicts.

Both southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have a large number of drug addicts.

Xinjiang has the fourth largest number of HIV/AIDS-infected people on the Chinese mainland. Most of the region's infections are found in Urumqi, the capital of the region.

According to statistics from the Health Ministry, the number of officially reported HIV/AIDS cases had grew to 183,733 nationwide in 2006, up nearly 30 percent from the previous year.

(Xinhua News Agency March 16, 2007)

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