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Private drugs rehab faces closure

By Zhang Qian (Shanghai Daily)

08:37, November 30, 2011

A patient (left) takes a rest in Huashi Hospital, Shanghai's last privately run voluntary drugs rehab, while a hospital worker looks on. Photo by Wang Rongjiang

Shanghai's last privately run, voluntary drugs rehabilitation hospital is struggling to stay afloat but as UN AIDS Day approaches, there's some cause for satisfaction that it no longer sees HIV cases. Zhang Qian reports.

Only 10 to 20 patients, all heroin addicts, are treated these days at Huashi Drug Rehabilitation Hospital, a private, voluntary-admissions facility in Fengxian District that once was filled to its 80-bed capacity.

Huashi is the city's only remaining, private rehab where non-convicted drugs abusers can get help in privacy. Many just stay a week for medical detox and stabilization; some stay longer for 28 days, including group and individual psychotherapy. Few get any follow-up intervention.

The cost to patients is as low as 200 yuan (US$31.30) a day, but some are even too poor to afford that. The hospital hasn't seen HIV patients for some years.

With World AIDS Day falling tomorrow, the focus is on education and preventing transmission through sexual contact (sex has become the primary transmission means) and intravenous drug use.

Two other privately run addiction hospitals have already closed for financial reasons, one in Jinshan District and the other in Baoshan District, and eight-year-old Huashi is on the cusp of closing. It has struggled for the past three years because the number of heroin addicts seeking private treatment has dropped dramatically, and there were no supporting donations.

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