AATOD’s European policy partner (EUROPAD), functioning under the aegis of the World Federation for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, convened its 11th European Congress on Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems in Glasgow, Scotland. The selected city of Glasgow was not by accident, but part of a strategic policy approach to having the government of Scotland maintain its current policy in support of the use of methadone maintenance to treat chronic opioid addiction. Some elected officials in Scotland had been considering ending the use of methadone treatment for opioid addiction in 2013 but have reversed this policy course with additional guidance from the World Federation for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence.
The conference is always an extremely stimulating event and AATOD congratulates Dr. Icro Maremmani and his associates as the conveners of the event from Europe and many nations throughout the world.
What was interesting to note was the trend towards increased prescription opioid use in a number of European countries, following on the pattern that we have seen in the United States. Different prescription opioids are being used in different countries and we received a number of reports about how these changes are affecting admission patterns to Opioid Treatment Programs throughout Europe. EUROPAD has also participated in the RADARS™ System, which is managed by the Denver Health and Hospital Authority. As many readers know, AATOD has managed the Opioid Treatment Program part of the RADARS™ System in the United States from January 2005 to the present.
The EUROPAD conference also highlighted a number of debates, which are convening in different parts of Europe. Illustratively, there appears to be a policy debate in the United Kingdom about whether opioid addiction should be classified as a disease.