Delivery of heroin under medical supervision will be facilitated for elderly and sick patients

Medicated delivery of heroin will be simplified for aging patients. The Federal Council adopted Friday the modification of the ordinance relating to the addiction to narcotics. This will come into effect on April 1. Addiction patients undergoing treatment with prescription heroin have aged and face different health challenges. They can often no longer go two to three times a day to specialized centers for the delivery of their treatment.

Treatment with prescription heroin (HeGeBe) is indeed done in specialized centers responsible for delivering mainly diacetylmorphine – the pharmaceutical form of this drug – on prescription. The revision plans to make life easier for those affected.

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Several doses at once

From now on, elderly patients or patients with comorbidities will be able to have their medication delivered to a pharmacy or another suitable institution, such as retirement homes or prisons. They will always be monitored by a specialized center and the responsibility for the treatment will continue to lie with this centre.

It will also be possible to obtain several doses of heroin at the same time, up to seven per day, in specific cases. The measure has already proven itself during the Covid-19 crisis. These measures aim to improve the therapeutic care of patients and to facilitate their reintegration. In consultation, the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Health Directors and the Association of Cantonal Pharmacists approved the project. Among the parties, the socialists and the liberal-radicals voted in favor, while the SVP rejected it.

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