During the lockdown that followed the arrival of COVID 19, many local drug services closed their doors to clients, contacting them instead by internet or telephone. Alongside this, People Who Use Drugs who had attended pharmacies to collect their prescriptions were permitted to cut visits to the pharmacy and being observed by the pharmacist or staff, they visited on a weekly or two-weekly basis. The reduction in attendance at the pharmacy has proved to be useful for drug users, offering a more humane, dignified and therapeutic arrangement.
This fits in with the overall goals of good drug Opioid Substitution Therapy, which should involve a therapeutic partnership between drugs services and those who use them. Therapeutic arrangements should be negotiated and agreed upon, not forced upon clients by the drug service.
Senior policy makers and managers and professional leaders in OST have acknowledged that people on OST in the UK have responded overwhelmingly with responsibility to the opportunity of take-home doses. EuroNPUD has been assured that OST services will focus on reaching the 50% of people with opioid dependence who are not currently accessing OST rather than reintroducing take home dispensing.