Advice for anyone on a methadone or buprenorphine prescription

Updated: 7 August 2020

If you live in Scotland, this information does not apply. The NHS manages all prescribing in Scotland. You should have received advice about your medication from your local NHS service. If not, please give your Change Grow Live service a ring and we can help you. You can find phone numbers for all our services using our ‘find a service’ page.

Changes to prescriptions

To help you stay safe, we have changed the way we prescribe medication-assisted treatment for a while: 

  • Most people who already take home medication now get a longer take-home supply.   
  • Most people who are on supervised consumption have moved to unsupervised and get a longer take-home supply.   
  • We have looked at your current situation, including your health and accommodation, and decided on the best option that will mean you can stay as safe as possible.     
  • If you can't collect your medicine or you're worried about it, please contact us and we will try to make arrangements to get your medicine to you. 

This is a change from what’s normal and you might be feeling scared, worried or confused. It’s OK to feel like that. We’re here to help, just give us a call or chat to our online team. You can find numbers for all our services using our ‘find a service’ page.

Staying safe

Important advice for anyone taking medication home

  • It is very important you take just the dose you are prescribed for each day. Please measure your dose carefully. Your pharmacist can provide you with a dose cup. Don’t take more than you should as there is a risk you may overdose.
  • Don’t share your medication. If someone you know needs help, please tell them to get in touch. We will help them get onto treatment as quickly as possible.
  • Always keep your medication secure in the bottle with the child-proof cap. Lock it away if possible. Keep it in a high place, out of reach of other people, especially children. Do not keep it in easy-to-access places like the fridge.
  • Think about who you need to tell about your medication, so you can keep yourself and anyone at home safe.

Please have a chat with us if you have any worries at all. We’re here to help you stay safe. Speak to a member of our online team.

How can I get a dose cup?

The pharmacy that you collect your medication from should be able to give you a measuring cup, or some other equipment to help you safely and accurately measure out your dose for each day. If not, please give your worker a call and they may be able to arrange to get you a dose cup. 

Safe storage

It’s really important that you store your medication safely. It could cause serious harm or even be fatal if someone else takes it, especially children. If you don’t have a lockable storage box, please speak to anyone at your service and we can give you one.

What should I do if my lock box is too small?

Your worker will be able to give you advice about storing medication that doesn’t fit into your lock box. We may be able to give you an extra box.

Naloxone

Naloxone is an emergency medication that can reverse the effects of an overdose. It works on methadone and buprenorphine. Some of our services can give you nasal naloxone spray, especially if you’re worried about having children at home.

How to give naloxone by injection

How to give naloxone by nasal spray

If you don’t have a naloxone kit, or yours has expired, please give your local service a call. We can give naloxone training over the phone. We may also be able to deliver a naloxone kit to you if you can’t collect one from a service or pharmacy. You can find numbers for all Change Grow Live services using our ‘find a service’ page.

Is there going to be enough methadone?

We are in regular contact with the manufacturers of the medication we prescribe, making sure we are always up to date with current stock levels. Our manufacturers have assured us that there will be enough methadone for everyone who needs it to continue their treatment and stay safe.

Supporting you

What should I do if I can’t go out to pick up my prescription?

Someone can collect your prescription on your behalf. Please give your pharmacy a call to let them know. You’ll need to complete part 1 of the FP10 form that’s attached to your prescription. The person collecting the medicine for you must complete parts 2 and 3. They may also need to show their ID at the pharmacy.

If you don’t have someone that can do this, where possible a member of our team will collect the medication and deliver it to you.

This page from the NHS explains more about what to do if you need someone else to collect your prescription.

What if I need more medication?

If you are taking the correct dose each day and you feel like you need a bigger dose, please speak to your worker or give your service a ring.

What will happen if I’m starting a new prescription?

If you’re starting or re-starting your journey with us, we will offer you a prescription for buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a safer option than methadone for people who are starting a new prescription and can't visit the pharmacy regularly. The only exception to this is for women who are pregnant.

Most people will get a longer take-home supply. We will look at your current situation, including your health and accommodation, and decide on the best option that will mean you can stay as safe as possible.  

What if I lose my medication or someone steals it?

We are hearing about some medication getting lost, stolen or sold. For safety reasons (and depending on the type of medication), we will not always be able to provide a replacement.

If you lose your medication or someone steals it, please speak to your worker or someone else at your service, and they will be able to help you.

If you are on methadone and you lose your medication or it's stolen (and we are able to give you replacement medication), we will offer you a new prescription on buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is less likely than methadone to harm people who aren't used to taking opioids. People are also less likely to steal or misuse it. 

What if I need a detox or dose reduction?

If you are thinking of starting a detox or dose reduction, it's important that you speak to your worker first. Please give them a ring or call the main phone number for your service. You can find phone numbers for all our services using our ‘find a service’ page.

How will you support me?

We’ll keep in touch with you over the phone to make sure you’re getting along OK.