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LN: Drug addiction treatment is underfinanced

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Prague, June 23 (CTK) – Some 150 millions crowns are lacked for the full implementation of substitution treatment of drug addicts in the Czech Republic, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.
Within substitution treatment, the patients get rid of their intravenous use of a drug and are able to work or study again. The dose of special drugs they get is gradually lowered .
Unlike the western countries, the substitution treatment of drug addiction started rather late, at the close of the 1990s, in the Czech Republic, LN writes.
“The first official programme only appeared here in 1998,” doctor Vratislav Rehak is quoted as saying.
“By administering a drug or its substitutes to the persons, we extricate them from the circulation of gaining an illegal drug and integrate them back into society,” Martin Holly, director of the Bohnice mental hospital in Prague, is quoted as saying.
This type of treatment has only been commonly available in the Czech Republic since 2010 with a population of 10.5 million, LN writes.
At that time, hundreds of people underwent the treatment and now there are thousands of them, it adds.
There are 11,000 problem users of opiates or opioids in the Czech Republic, LN writes.
“Some 30-40 percent of the users are treated here in this way. In Germany, Austria or Croatia, the figure is over 65 percent,” Viktor Mravcik, from the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, is quoted as saying.
The Czech Republic mainly lags behind in the spread of specialised clinics that help drug addicts with substitution treatment, Mravcik said.
The clinics are poorly accessible as there are only 40 of them in the Czech Republic, he added.
“Over one half of districts do not have any,” Mravcik said.
In 2013, some 470 million crowns were spent on anti-drug policy, if the sum from the National Anti-Drug Centre, a police body, is not included, he added.
Out of the total sum, 120 million was spent on the treatment, with the substitution treatment having accounted for 80 million crowns, Mravcik said.
Ideally, another 150 million crowns are needed so that the patients do not have to pay the medicines themselves, he added.
Health insurance companies do not cover 75 percent of all the available substitution medicaments, Mravcik said.
“If a patient uses the ideal amount of the stuff, which is 16 micrograms a day, it costs 12,000 crowns a month,” he added.
Due to the high sum, patients are often reluctant to start this type of treatment, LN writes.
($1 = 23.981 crowns)

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