Police Department in Lithuania prepares guidelines on provision of methadone in arrest houses

(posted 02/03/2010)


In February 2010, Lithuanian Police Department prepared new guidelines describing the order for handing over prescribed medication for persons in custody. Among other things, the new guidelines clarify provisions for continuation of methadone therapy in police arrest houses.  According to the new guidelines, health care specialists from community services or their authorized persons can bring methadone to detained clients, and methadone should be administered under supervision of a medical specialist. UNODC will assist Police Department in organizing training for nurses of arrest houses on implementation of the new guidelines as well as general principles of treatment of drug dependence. Currently there are 36 police arrest houses in Lithuania, and each year about 32 000 persons are taken into custody.

The guidelines were prepared in response to UNODC study that revealed lack of unified approach in providing methadone for short-term detainees - while it was available in some arrest houses, there were others which denied the treatment. In 2008 - 2009, 42 persons stopped treatment due to imprisonment and 16 persons were able to continue methadone maintenance therapy in police arrest houses. In Lithuania, pharmacotherapy of opioid dependence with methadone and buprenorphine is available since 1995. In 2009, methadone maintenance therapy was available in 10 cities and in total more than 560 individuals received treatment.


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