Lithuania Country Drug Report 2019

Treatment

The treatment system

The objectives of drug-related treatment stated in the Lithuanian National Programme on Drug Control and Prevention of Drug Addiction place emphasis on enhancing the quality and accessibility of drug dependence treatment services, while the Law on Narcological Care and the Law on Mental Health Care provide 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 responsibility of the Ministry of Health. Drug treatment services are funded through the national budget, national health insurance and municipal budgets, and are provided free of charge to patients, with some exceptions.

Drug treatment in Lithuania is provided by both public and private agencies. Outpatient drug treatment is provided by specialised drug treatment centres and through general primary and mental health care centres. There are five 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 between 1 and 3 months and include group psychotherapy psychosocial assistance, day-care services and counselling, and can also provide opioid substitution treatment (OST).

Inpatient treatment, such as withdrawal treatment and residential treatment, is delivered by 27 hospital-based residential drug treatment units and 13 therapeutic communities, while detoxification services are available through toxicological units in general hospitals or in private centres. Special treatment programmes are available for children who are dependent on psychoactive substances, including two public long-term rehabilitation communities. OST with methadone has been provided since 1996 and buprenorphine-based medication since late 2002. OST can be prescribed by the specialised centres for addictive disorders and by psychiatrists working in mental health centres.

Treatment provision

In 2017, a total of 1 697 people entered treatment, the majority of whom were treated in outpatient settings. Regardless of treatment setting, the majority of clients sought treatment as a result of the use of opioids, mainly heroin.

On 31 December 2017, a total of 1 136 clients were receiving OST in Lithuania, about 100 fewer than in 2016. The majority of OST clients were treated with methadone. Methadone maintenance is continued for clients in police custody.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.