Recovering heroin addicts offered monthly injections during pandemic

Wales is to become the first part of the UK to offer a once-a-month injection for recovering heroin addicts to help protect NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

The injection of slow-release buprenorphine will replace the daily oral medication used to aid heroin addicts in their recovery.

It is hoped it will relieve pressure on pharmacy and NHS services by reducing the amount of contact between individuals and frontline staff.

Credit: PA

Former heroin users are at greater risk of contracting coronavirus because, as a result of their substance misuse, they have poorer immune systems and many will have underlying health conditions.

Vaughan Gething AM, Health Minister

The treatment is clinically tested and former heroin users will be screened for their suitability before they receive the slow-release injection.

The Welsh Government hopes the new service will reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus from repeated daily visits to pharmacies.

It has also announced £10m to support people who are homeless or sleeping rough during the pandemic.

Homelessness and substance misuse often go hand in hand. People experiencing both are particularly vulnerable during this difficult time.

Julie James AM, Housing and Local Government Minister