Switzerland Had a Drug Overdose Crisis: Then It Made Methadone Easy to Get

March 27, 2024

a close up of a syringe with liquid

(STAT News) – The lobby of this addiction clinic is unremarkable, really, except for the network of metal chutes and tubes that hug the walls as they snake downward from a pharmacy on the upper floors. Every few minutes, a new prescription comes clattering down, delivering a bottle full of powerful and effective pills used to treat opioid addiction to a waiting patient at the front desk. Sometimes, it’s methadone. Other patients prefer slow-release morphine. In rare cases, for those at high risk of overdose or infectious disease, this clinic even prescribes pharmaceutical-grade heroin.

This scene is typical of a Monday afternoon in Switzerland. But in the United States, where opioid addiction medications remain controversial and highly stigmatized, it would be unthinkable. (Read More)