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By Rachel Clun / Sydney Morning Herald

People being treated for opioid addiction risk relapsing without changes in their support and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Royal Australasian College of Physicians spokesman and president-elect of the Chapter of Addiction Medicine Professor Nicholas Lintzeris said the outbreak has had a huge impact on the 50,000 patients who use methadone or buprenorphine as treatment for their opioid dependence.

“Traditionally that usually meant patients got to a clinic, pharmacy or hospital, four, five, six, seven days a week in some cases,” he said.

“That might be fine under normal circumstances but in the context of COVID-19 that’s a model that doesn’t really work that well.”