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Responsible for the service Regional State Administrative Agency

Detoxification and opioid substitution therapy

  • Permit or other obligation
  • Nationwide except the Åland Islands
  • Public service

Opioid detoxification refers to the use of substitution drugs (buprenorphine and methadone) to treat the withdrawal symptoms of opioid addicts.

Opioid substitution therapy refers to the use of substitution drugs (buprenorphine and methadone) to rehabilitate addicts, prevent relapses, reduce other negative effects of addiction and give recovering addicts a better quality of life.

Do the following

Other licensing criteria

  • Licence applications must be accompanied by a copy of the health care provider’s pharmacotherapy policy as well as a written description of pharmacotherapy procedures.

  • In supported living facilities, opioid substitution therapy can only be administered as a form of follow-up treatment. A private health care licence is always required.
  • Only specialist substance abuse service providers can administer opioid substitution therapy in people’s homes or as part of home-based nursing.

To whom and on what terms

Licensing criteria for different kinds of service providers

1. Hospitals

- Director:

  • licensed medical practitioner who specialises in addiction medicine OR
  • licensed medical practitioner with at least two years of clinical experience in addiction medicine in Finland (including assessment of the need for opioid substitution therapy and administering treatment)

- Staff:

  • 1.5 health care professionals per patient
  • at least two members of staff always on duty at the same time, one of whom must be a licensed health care professional (such as a registered nurse) and the other a health care professional with a protected occupational title (such as a practical nurse)
  • health care professionals with a protected occupational title and social workers need to be trained on the job before they can participate in the administering of detoxification or opioid substitution therapy

2. 24-hour rehabilitation / substance abuse / detoxification facilities

- Director:

  • licensed medical practitioner who specialises in addiction medicine OR
  • licensed medical practitioner with at least two years of clinical experience in addiction medicine in Finland (including assessment of the need for opioid substitution therapy and administering treatment)

- Staff:

  • 0.8 social welfare or health care professionals per customer
  • at least two members of staff always on duty at the same time, one of whom must be a licensed health care professional
  • health care professionals with a protected occupational title and social workers need to be trained on the job before they can participate in the administering of detoxification or opioid substitution therapy

3. Out-patient clinics

- Director:

  • licensed medical practitioner who specialises in addiction medicine OR
  • licensed medical practitioner with at least two years of clinical experience in addiction medicine in Finland (including assessment of the need for opioid substitution therapy and administering treatment)

- Staff:

  • at least two members of staff always on duty at the same time, one of whom must be a licensed health care professional

Background information

Decree of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health on the Detoxification and Substitution Treatment of Opioid Addicts with Certain Medicinal Products (33/2008)

Basic information

The service is provided byRegional State Administrative Agency
Responsible for the serviceRegional State Administrative Agency
Area Whole Finland (except Åland)
Available languagesFinnish, Swedish, English
Text edited by: Regional State Administrative Agency
Updated: 6/5/2021