The drug treatment-related objectives of all Lithuanian National Programmes on Drug Control and Prevention of Drug Addiction place an emphasis on enhancing the quality and accessibility of drug dependence treatment services, while the Law on Narcological Care provides a regulatory framework for the provision of treatment to people who use licit and illicit substances. The coordination, implementation and provision of drug treatment are the responsibilities of the Ministry of Health. The drug treatment services are funded through the national budget, national health insurance and municipal budgets, and drug treatment is provided free of charge to patients.
Drug treatment in Lithuania is provided mostly by public and private agencies. Outpatient drug treatment is provided by specialised drug treatment centres and through private medical institutions that have obtained a special licence. There are five regional public specialised centres for addictive disorders, which are located across the country and provide outpatient and inpatient services. These centres offer treatment programmes that last one to three months and include group psychotherapy, acupuncture and counselling, and can also provide opioid substitution treatment (OST).
Inpatient treatment, such as withdrawal treatment and residential treatment, is delivered by hospitalbased residential drug treatment units and therapeutic communities, while detoxification services are available through toxicological units in general hospitals or in private toxicology centres. Special treatment programmes are available for children who are dependent on psychoactive substances, including two long-term rehabilitation communities. In addition, 22 long-term rehabilitation centres and seven day centres operate across the country. OST with methadone has been provided since 1996, while buprenorphine-based medication has been available since late 2002. OST can be prescribed by the specialised centres for addictive disorders and by psychiatrists working in the mental health centres.
Trends in percentage of clients entering specialised drug treatment, by primary drug in Lithuania
NB Year of data 2015.
Opioid substitution treatment in Lithuania: proportions of clients in OST by medication and trends of the total number of clients
NB Year of data 2015.
In 2015, a total 2 549 people entered treatment, the majority of whom were treated in outpatient settings. Regardless of treatment setting, clients seeking treatment as a result of the use of opioids dominated. Although the number of first-time treatment clients reporting primary opioid use has fluctuated in the last decade, the numbers of all clients entering treatment indicate a continuous increase in the number of opioid, mainly heroin, users
On 31 December 2015, a total of 596 clients received OST in Lithuania, the majority of whom were treated with methadone. Methadone maintenance is continued for clients in police custody; however, it is discontinued if a client is transferred to prison.