The addiction psychiatric clinical team for detoxification and substitution therapy provides service (assessment and treatment) mainly for persons with opioid addiction. Opioids are powerful pain killers with marked addictive properties and a risk of abuse. The most common opioid used intravenously in Finland is buprenorphine.
The clinical team for detoxification and substitution therapy performs assessments of the need for interventions to combat opioid addiction for all inhabitants in the area of southwest Finland. During the assessment, the patient will have appointments with a nurse, social worker and a physician. After the assessment period, the patient will have a treatment plan and a referral to the unit responsible for opioid addiction management in the patient's home municipality. An opioid substitution therapy board decides on approving patients for opioid substitution therapy. This board meets once monthly.
The addiction, the psychiatric clinical team for detoxification and substitution therapy is responsible for managing opioid-supported detoxification, initiation of substitution therapy and largely also for executing the substation treatment for patients living in Turku.
The detoxification programs are planned to fit each individual patient and they usually last for about 3 months. The program consists of buprenorphine administration at declining doses. If needed, institutional periods for detoxification and rehabilitation may be used.
Substitution therapy with buprenorphine or methadone has, by necessity, a long duration and may even last for life. The goal of substitution therapy is to support the rehabilitation of the patient and his/her drug abstinence or to minimize the negative effects of drug abuse and to improve the patient's quality of life by providing opioid substitution under strictly controlled conditions. Substitution therapy follows also an individualized treatment plan.
The addiction psychiatric clinical team for detoxification and substitution therapy had about 160 patients for substitution therapy in 2019. Decree 33/2008 of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health provides the legal framework for detoxification and substitution treatment of opioid addicts.
The addiction psychiatric clinical team for detoxification and substitution therapy provides also consultations and periods of assessment and detoxification for other patients with addiction problems. The team participates regularly in the meetings of the Pain clinic of the university hospital.