Opioid Agonist Treatment, Guiding Principles for Legislation and Regulations

With nearly 35 million opioid users worldwide, access to opioid agonist treatment (OAT) is a major health issue. Only 12 million are intravenous drug users and are at risk of becoming infected with HIV or hepatitis C virus (HCV). These high-risk opioid users are close to 1.3 million in Europe. Only 50% have access to treatment and there are considerable differences from one country to another, between cities and rural territories, and in terms of population groups (women, minors, etc.). The major obstacle is the requirement to obtain prior approval, notwithstanding the effectiveness of this treatment which is beyond any doubt. Scaling up the access to opioid agonist medicines is a WHO recommendation and is part of the EU Action Plan on Drugs for 2017-2020. In particular, two medicines are deemed essential: methadone and buprenorphine. The report drafted by a group of health and legal experts thereby calls upon countries to review their national regulations in the light of four recommendations:

  •  the delivery of opioid agonist medicines without prior approval;
  •  the removal of financial barriers to health care access;
  •  the setting up of a national consultative monitoring body;
  • the use of a neutral, precise and respectful terminology. All these courses of action are aimed at an equitable and timely access to health care, in alignment with the human rights-based approach recommended by the Pompidou Group.
  • Opioid agonist treatment guiding principles for legislation and regulations  P-PG_2017_15-PG (15
New brochure New brochure
criminal justice and drug policy

Criminal justice and drug policy. Treatment, Harm Reduction and Alternatives to Punishment

The Pompidou Group works closely with national policy makers and practitioners to develop drug strategies and tools that focus on improving health and human rights in the criminal justice systems. This includes interventions that help to reduce crime, prison overcrowding and stigmatisation of drug-dependent persons.

The brochure ‘Criminal Justice and Drug Policy’ introduces the work of the Criminal Justice and Prison Programme of the Pompidou Group – by giving a voice to both leading experts and people who have survived drug dependence and experienced related hardship in prison.

 Pompidou Group