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Telemedicine Services for Methadone Pioneered in Taichung to be Promoted Nationwide

  • Date: 2018-12-13
  • Issued by: Health Bureau

Methadone can be used to reduce the haunting craving of heroin addicts, but as it is a “schedule 2 drug”, addicts need to take the medication at the hospital every day. Otherwise, they may have such symptoms as eye-watering, runny nose, and irritability if they do not take the replacement therapy for only one day. To reduce barriers for heroin addicts, the Health Bureau of Taichung City Government has launched the "telemedicine services for Methadone" since August 2015. The program is so highly praised by the Ministry of Health and Welfare that it will be promoted to the whole country.

"Methadone replacement therapy" to treat heroin dependence has been implemented worldwide for many years,” said the Health Bureau. "As Methadone is a schedule 2 drug, an addict cannot take it at home but only at the hospital. In other words, the heroin addicts must go the hospital to take medicine every day. Otherwise, they feel uncomfortable and may have the urge to look for drugs, leading to theft, fraud, drug trafficking and other criminal activities.

“To reduce barriers for heroin addicts, we have collaborated with 11 addiction services agencies, namely the Fengyuan Hospital, Taichung Hospital, China Medical University, Chung Shan Medical University, Weishin Urologic Clinic , Veterans General Hospital, Tungs’ Taichung Metro Harbor Hospital, Military Taichung General Hospital, Sunny Mental Hospital, Cender Hospital, and Taichung Tzu Chi Hospital to offer the telemedicine services. In addition, we have also been pilot-testing the telemedicine services at six health centers, including Dali, Shigang, Xinshi, Wufeng, Heping, and Lishan.

“We launched the telemedicine services for Methadone in August 2015. Up to now, in only three months, there have been 23 heroin addicts applying for this service. It helps them reduce the burden of medical care expenses and procedures and prevent them from craving for drugs and the risk of HIV infection. It should also help them to gain emotional stability, improve their existing lifestyle, and enhance work efficiency and quality.”

Xu Yong-nian (徐永年), Director-general of Health Bureau, said, “The Ministry of Health and Welfare held a conference on ‘Handling Drug and Alcohol Addiction’ in November 2015, and we made a presentation on the results of telemedicine services for Methadone. Our experience won very high appreciation, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare has decided to promote it to the whole country in 2016.”

  • Date : 2015-12-08
  • Hit: 112