President/CEO of CODAC Behavioral Healthcare Travels to Vietnam


Michael Rizzi, President/CEO of CODAC Behavioral Healthcare, (3rd from left) joined Vietnamese governmental officials, the US Ambassador to Viet Nam, United Nations, World Health Organization, and other international delegates at the opening ceremony for Ha Noi’s newest methadone maintenance treatment center.  This is the third methadone clinic in Ha Noi supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), CDC, and   the  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and is the 13th supported by the US President’s Emergency Plan  for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).  Rizzi, traveling with the support of PEPFAR and SAMHSA, stated, “The opening of the clinic in the Son Tay District of Ha Noi marks the continuing and collaborative effort of the people and government of Viet Nam to address the chronic brain disease of opioid dependence.” 
 
Later in his visit, while addressing the 20th Anniversary of Viet Nam’s efforts in stopping the spread of  HIV/AIDS, he went on to say, “While methadone treatment has long been proven effective for the treatment of this opioid dependence, this evidence based treatment has double the benefit when combined to reduced the high risk behaviors associated with HIV/AIDS transmission.”

 

CODAC Behavioral Healthcare has been providing substance abuse treatment, education, and prevention services to individuals and families in Rhode Island since 1971.  With treatment centers in Cranston, Providence, East Providence, Newport, and Wakefield, CODAC has been providing treatment for opioid dependence since 1974.  It was this experience and knowledge that led to Rizzi’s invitation to participate in these events.

 

During his stay in Ha Noi, Rizzi visited several methadone clinics, observed treatment and operational services and noted, “the dedication and commitment of clinic staff to provide comprehensive and integrated care to the patients and families they served sets the stage for the planned expansion of methadone treatment in Viet Nam.”  “I am particularly please that the professionals charged with this responsibility have incorporated many of the best practices and guidelines developed by United States and other international practitioners.”  He went on to congratulate the attending policy-makers and Minister of Health saying, “…. by making this commitment to provide meaningful, proven, and effective treatment for opioid dependence, you will restore quality of life to those in treatment, their families, and the community and, at the same time, reduce the high risk behaviors associated with HIV/AIDS.”
 

Rizzi concluded by saying, “Methadone maintenance has been the standard for the effective  treatment of opioid dependence for over forty years.  In the United States, alone, there are over 250,000 patients engaged in this life saving and life changing treatment.  We welcome the development of additional medications for the treatment of addictions and welcome Viet Nam and the growing number of countries that have chosen to treat this illness in a manner consistent with other medical conditions.”