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Drug treatment overview for Slovenia

Map of Slovenia

1. National context

At the national level, drug-related treatment is provided by different systems of health, social support and civil society NGOs. Responsibility for implementing treatment lies predominantly at the national level. Treatment is carried out on a formal legal basis under the following acts: the Health Care and Health Insurance Act (Official Gazette 9/92), Production and Trade in Illicit Drugs Act (official Gazette 108/99 with amendments) and the Prevention of the Use of Illicit Drugs and Dealing with Consumers of Illicit Drugs Act (Official Gazette 98/99).

The main funder of drug-related treatment in the health sphere is the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia. The public sector delivers most drug-related treatment, primarily opioid substitution treatment (OST). However, other drug-related treatment (mainly psychosocial interventions) is also delivered by NGOs, supported by public funding. In terms of government funding for new treatment methods, priority is given to abstinence-based treatment, or treatment that reduces the harmful health consequences related to drug use. The Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities co-funds rehabilitation services.

Drug-related treatment is available free of charge within the framework of the public health national service network. Treatment takes place primarily at one of the 18 CPTDAs, which are run as a public health service. The legislative basis of the work of the CPTDAs and the provision of drug-related health services are defined in four laws: the Law on the Prevention of Illicit Drug Use and Treatment of Drug Users; the Law on Health Care and Health Insurance; the Law on Drugs and Medicine Accessories; and the Law on the Health Service. To provide inpatient treatment, the government has established a public health centre — the Centre for the Treatment of Drug Addiction — at the Ljubljana Psychiatric Hospital. All treatment programmes are under the supervision of the Health Council.

The Commission for Controlling the Work of the CPTDAs, appointed by the Minister of Health, oversees the treatment centres. This Commission checks the documentation, human resources and equipment of the centres, the scope of work performed, their methadone maintenance treatment programmes and consultation-based treatment.

The treatment system in Slovenia has four categories: (i) outpatient treatment; (ii) inpatient treatment; (iii) detoxification; and (iv) OST. Outpatient treatment is used for the majority of treated drug users, and the most frequent treatment is OST. Treatment also includes psychosocial interventions, other medically assisted treatment, individual or group counselling and a socio- or psychotherapy component, including assistance in rehabilitation and social reintegration, links to home nursing, therapeutic communities and self-help groups. Inpatient drug treatment consists mainly of psychosocial interventions, yet may also be pharmacologically assisted in terms of withdrawal treatment. Detoxification treatment may take place in inpatient or outpatient settings. Inpatient treatment sessions last six to eight weeks. In 2009 an integrated treatment for drug users with mental co-morbidities was made available at the Psychiatric Hospital of Ljubljana.

OST was introduced in 1990, and is provided either by doctors employed in outpatient clinics or by general practitioners who practise at the CPTDAs. Buprenorphine was registered in 2004 and slow-release morphine in 2005. These two medications have contributed to the increased diversification of OST options. Treatment with naltrexone is also available. The buprenorphine/naloxone combination was introduced in 2007.

In 2013 the total number of clients in OST was estimated to be 3 261, of which 2 024 received methadone maintenance treatment while others received either buprenorphine-based substitution treatment, suboxone or slow-release morphine.

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2. Treatment registries and monitoring systems

There is no national register of drug users, but CPTDAs adhere to a national monitoring system and report individual client data to the national Institute of Public Health, protecting the anonymity of clients through the use of a special code. However, the personal data of treated clients are not reported to the national Health Insurance institute. 

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3. Treatment demand

Table 1: Number of clients entering treatment in Slovenia by year
Clients in treatment 2010 2011 2012 2013
Number of all clients entering treatment 797 521 519 290
Number of all clients entering treatment with known primary drug 794 521 519 287
% of which for opioid use 90.9 86.6 81 81.5
% of which for cocaine use 2.5 3.5 5 3.5
% of which for cannabis use 5.4 8.4 10 12.5
% of which for stimulants use (other than cocaine) 0.4 0.6 1 0.7
Number of new clients entering treatment 277 207 189 95
Number of new clients entering treatment with known primary drug 275 207 189 94
% of which for opioid use 83.3 74.9 64 60.6
% of which for cocaine use 3.6 3.9 4 6.4
% of which for cannabis use 11.3 18.8 26 31.9
% of which for stimulants use (other than cocaine) 0.8 1.0 2 1.1
Notes:
The variation across time, in particular with regard to the absolute numbers of clients in treatment, should be interpreted with caution as coverage data may have changed over time. For further information on coverage details please refer to the relevant EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.
For an explanation of terms used, see the definitions of terms.
Sources:

Reitox national reports 2014 and TDI tables.
EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin 2015.

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4. Treatment provision

Table 2: Opioid substitution treatment provision in Slovenia
Opioid substitution treatment 2010 2011 2012 2013
Number of clients in opioid substitution treatment 3545 3557 3345 3261
of which with methadone 2615 2446 2232 2024
of which with buprenorphine 674 811 770 892
Notes:
For a detailed European overview please see the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin 2015 (HSR section) .
‘N. Av.’ stands for ‘No information available’.
For an explanation of terms used, see the definitions of terms.
Sources:
Standard Table 24 (ST24) on 'Treatment availability' submitted in 2014.
Table 3: Year of official introduction of opioid substitution treatment substances in Slovenia
Applied substances in opioid substitution treatment Officially introduced in
Methadone (MMT) 1990
Buprenorphine (HDBT) 2005
Heroin assisted treatment,including as trials N.App.
Slow-release morphine 2005
Buprenorphine/naloxone combination 2007
Notes:
For a detailed European overview please see the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin 2015 (HSR section) .
‘N. App.’ stands for ‘Not applicable’.
For an explanation of terms used, see the definitions of terms.
Sources:
Reitox national reports.
Table 4: Legal framework of opioid substitution treatment in Slovenia
Legal framework of opioid substitution treatment Methadone Buprenorphine
Do office-based medical doctors have the right to initiate the prescription of substitution treatment? N.App. N.App.
Do specialised medical doctors have the right to initiate the prescription of substitution treatment? Yes Yes
Notes:
For a detailed European overview please see the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin 2015 (HSR section) .
For an explanation of terms used, see the definitions of terms.
'Specialised medical doctors' refers to specifically trained or accredited office-based medical doctors.
Sources:
Structured Questionnaire on 'Treatment programmes'(SQ27P1), submitted in 2014.

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5. References and links

Related EMCDDA resources

External links

Please note that the EMCDDA is not responsible for the content of external sites.

Treatment inventories

Treatment research centres

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About the EMCDDA

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Thursday, 28 May 2015