LAR Report 2020
SERAF recently published the 2020 annual status report for opioid maintenance treatment (OMT).
On behalf of the Norwegian Directorate of Health, SERAF is responsible for reporting on and summarizing an annual survey of patients receiving opioid maintenance treatment (OMT). The report is the result of significant effort on the part of everyone involved in OMT--at the clinics and the policy level. We especially want to thank OMT employees across the country, patients who have contributed information about their treatment and the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
In the report, we present findings on how OMT patients are doing, both in general (PART A) in terms of employment, rehabilitation and degree of satisfaction with treatment, but also more specifically about key outcome goals such as drug use in the last 4 weeks (PART B) and the current year (PART C), which medication is used and whether there have been serious events such as overdose. As a follow-up to last year's focus on "new medicines", this year we present figures for depot injection OMT for the first time.
2020 was marked by a pandemic with restrictions that affected everyone's lives. For OMT patients, the new infection control measures for social distancing often led to more lenient collection schemes. OMT clinic employees were considered essential workers and had to continue working while social distancing, using hand sanitizer and face masks. The survey feedback indicates that the Covid-19 restrictions were handled well, and the outcome was better than expected.
It is therefore an extra pleasure to be able to present this annual report despite cohort-based work, home office, quarantine, isolation and even cases of serious Covid-19 related lung disease. We were able to add questions about Covid-19 to the survey and found a high degree of uncertainty. At the same time, the disease prevalence among OMT patients was very low. This seems to reflect incidence in the general population and can be interpreted as an expression of normality in this patient population. We know little about serious long-term Covid-19 and the aims of this report are insufficient for mapping the disease in greater detail.
We are reminded that an aging OMT population is to be considered a success in itself. OMT has meant that many people with opioid addiction can age with the disease. At the same time, in the future we want to strengthen the focus on good living habits, HepC treatment and regular medical examinations.
Finally, Ivar Skeie analyzed mortality data and wrote the chapter on deaths in OMT. He has again followed the measures closely to be able to include complete figures on overdoses, suicide and natural deaths.
The full Norwegian report on OMT (LAR) can be read here.