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Opiate Replacement Programs are based on a therapeutic approach to the treatment of opioid drug addiction grounded in the concept that substitution of legally manufactured and obtained, medically supervised, long-acting, orally administered opioid drugs have prosocial effects and health benefits when compared to short-acting, injectable opioids obtained via illegal channels and used intravenously without medical supervision. Two primary medications are in current use throughout the world for this purpose: methadone and buprenorphine, the latter now typically combined with the narcotic antagonist naloxone.

Opioid drugs are considered essential medications, and in 2005 the UN World Health Organization (WHO) added both methadone and buprenorphine to the 14th Model List of Essential Medicines, categorizing them as “complimentary” medicines that decrease IV drug users’ risk of viral infections, such as ...

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