European Union

Opioid Substitution Treatment in the EU

(Opioid Substitution Treatment in the EU) "Substitution treatment is the predominant treatment option for opioid users in Europe. It is generally provided in specialist outpatient settings, though in some countries it is also available in inpatient settings, and is increasingly provided in prisons (20). In addition, office-based general practitioners, often in shared-care arrangements with specialist centres, increasingly play a role. Opioid substitution is available in all EU Member States and in Croatia, Turkey and Norway (21).

Availability of Heroin-Assisted Treatment in the EU

(Availability of Heroin-Assisted Treatment in the EU) "A number of European countries have remained at the forefront of innovation with regards to OST and drug dependence therapies. For those who cannot or do not wish to stop injecting, a small number of European countries prescribe injectable OST medicines (including the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) (Cook and Kanaef, 2008). The prescription of pharmaceutical heroin (diacetylmorphine) remains limited to a few European countries (Fischer et al., 2007; EMCDDA, 2009a, Table HSR-1).

Types of Opiate Substitution Treatment Available in the EU

(Types of Opiate Substitution Treatment Available in the EU) "In Europe, methadone is the most commonly prescribed opioid substitute, received by up to three quarters of substitution clients. Buprenorphine-based substitution medications are prescribed to up to a quarter of European substitution clients, and are the principal substitution medications in the Czech Republic, Greece, France, Cyprus, Finland and Sweden (103). The combination buprenorphine-naloxone is available in 15 countries.

Availability of Opiate Treatment

(Availability of Opiate Treatment) "Both drug-free and substitution treatments for opioid users are available in all EU Member States, Croatia, Turkey and Norway. In most countries, treatment is conducted in outpatient settings, which can include specialised centres, general practitioners’ surgeries and low-threshold facilities. In a few countries, residential treatment plays an important role in the treatment of opioid dependence(100). A small number of countries offer heroin-assisted treatment for a selected group of chronic heroin users."

Homeless and Housing Assistance

(Homeless and Housing Assistance) "Four countries (16 %; n = 25) reported that the accommodation needs of problem drug users were specifically addressed by actions set out in national social protection and inclusion plans. In Austria the National Action Plan on Social Inclusion (Nationaler Aktionsplan Soziale Eingliederung) states that socially assisted housing should be increasingly provided to drug-dependent people in the future.

Syringe Availability Through Pharmacies

(Syringe Availability Through Pharmacies) "The purchase of syringes through pharmacies may be a major source of contact with the health service for some injectors, and the potential to exploit this contact point as a conduit to other services clearly exists. Work to motivate and support pharmacists to develop the services they offer to drug users could form an important part of extending the role of pharmacies, but to date only France, Portugal and the United Kingdom appear to be making significant investments in this direction."

Syringe Exchange Through Pharmacies

(Syringe Exchange Through Pharmacies) "Formally organised pharmacy syringe exchange or distribution networks exist in nine European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and the United Kingdom), although participation in the schemes varies considerably, from nearly half of pharmacies (45%) in Portugal to less than 1% in Belgium. In Northern Ireland, needle and syringe exchange is currently organised exclusively through pharmacies."

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