Detoxification and Maintenance Treatment Services
After the merge of the Office for the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Addiction and Social Welfare Bureau (SWB) in June 1999, and in order to improve Macao drug treatment services, in August 2001, SWB initiated construction plan of Drug Treatment Complex Centre, which started to operate in October 2002, providing a variety of services, including outpatient detoxification treatment service, methadone treatment and maintenance service, treatment and consultation service for drug dependents, counselling service for young drug dependents, activities and support service, counselling and follow-up on infectious diseases, drug urine test and follow-up on social reintegration. In order to cope with the development of Macao medical services, in December 2015, Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Division moved to Ilha Verde Centre for Victims of Disaster, 10th Floor. The above-mentioned services of Drug Treatment Complex Centre are provided in various locations. Detoxification and maintenance treatment services are provided in Drug Treatment Centre (Methadone), Carmo, Taipa and Conde de São Januário Hospital, whereas detoxification treatment service for youth are provided in Ilha Verde Youth Counselling Centre.
Due to the development of community service facilities, the Ilha Verde Drug Treatment Centre (Methadone) was established in November 2018 to provide service, while the Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Division and Youth Counselling Centre were relocated for operations.
After the reorganization of the relevant services, services provided to the public include:

1. Outpatient Detoxfiication Treatment Service

Help-seekers on detoxification are provided with outpatient health care at community level, medical examination, individual psychological counselling, family counselling, social support and referral services.

Opening hours of outpatient service: Monday to Friday, during normal office hours

2. Methadone Treatment and Maintenance Service

Methadone maintenance treatment programme is provided to individuals addicted to heroin for a long time. The programme consists of medical consultation; nursing care provided by nurses, methadone distribution, treatment monitoring and assessment, and appropriate and necessary regular medical check-up. In addition, it also includes psychological counselling provided by social workers, activities in small groups, referral services, etc.

Opening hours of methadone treatment and maintenance service:
Monday to Sunday, 08:00-20:00.
(The service of medicine distribution is maintained during weekend, Sunday, public holidays and in times of typhoon.)

3. Outpatient Service for Young Drug Dependents

Due to the fact that the problem of young drug dependents is of social concern, Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Division renders integrated treatment service provided by inter-disciplinary team, consisting of physicians, nurses, social workers, etc.
It aims to provide diverse treatment services to individuals aged 29 or below addicted to new types of drugs: outpatient medical care of detoxification at community level, hygiene education, physical assessment and health examinations, individual psychological counselling, counselling for families of drug dependents, social support, referral services, etc.

Opening hours of outpatient service for young drug dependents: Monday to Friday, during normal working hours.

4. Counselling and Follow-up on Infectious Diseases of Drug Dependents

Provide intensive counselling, treatment referral and follow-up of cases on infectious diseases, as well as the arrangement of medical examination and counselling on hygiene education, etc.

5. Urine Test and Laboratory Analysis

In order to cope with medical diagnosis, urine tests of the cases will be conducted for commencing appropriate drug treatment plans. Simultaneously, urine test and laboratory analysis will be carried out for cases of sentence suspension, conditioned by drug treatment.

Target Group:

Drug dependents or their family members who request voluntary drug abuse / detoxification treament and rehabilitation services.

Obs.: Personal data of help seekers are absolutely confidential.

Hotlines:

Hotlines: 2835 8844
(Voicemail available)

— Detoxification and Maintenance Treatment Services

*Ilha Verde Drug Treatment Centre(Methadone)
Address: Rua Nova da Ilha Verde, Edifício Cheng I, Bloco 1, 1.º andar
* Areia Preta Drug Treatment Centre (Methadone)
Address: Rua Central da Areia Preta, n.os 599-671, Macau
* Drug Treatment Centre (Methadone), Carmo, Taipa
Address: Estrada Coronel Nicolau de Mesquita, Edifício do Lago, Bloco 1, 1.º andar, Taipa, Macau
* Drug Treatment Centre (Methadone), Centro Hospitalar Conde de São Januário (CHCSJ)
Address: next to Tunnel of Centro Hospitalar Conde de São Januário (CHCSJ)

Appointment with social workers can be arranged in person or by telephone during normal office hours. All data will be kept confidential. No fee is required.

Normal office hours:

Monday to Thursday 09:00 – 13:00, 14:30 – 17:45
Friday 09:00 – 13:00, 14:30 – 17:30

(Confidential and Free of Charge)

What is methadone?
Methadone is a synthetic anesthesia analgesic developed by the Germans during World War II. It was originally used to treat wounded soldiers. In the 1960s, methadone became the main medicine for detoxification therapy in Western countries such as Europe and the United States. Since 2005, methadone maintenance treatment has been promoted in Macao. Heroin addiction has been treated by taking long-term methadone oral solution.
What are the precautions and contraindications of methadone use?
Taking drugs while using methadone may cause an overdose, which may lead to respiratory depression and even death. Like ordinary people, methadone users will also suffer from injuries and illnesses. When one requires the use of other types of medicine, it is best to consult a doctor or pharmacist first. Do not buy or mix medicines without consultation in order to avoid cross-chemical reactions or unstable drug effects.
Methadone is a type of medicine, not a drug, and its medical substitute can reach the following effects:
  1. To reduce the risk of infection and spreading of infectious diseases;
  2. To reduce the need of drugs and financial burden and so reduce crime;
  3. To improve family life and work efficiency;
  4. To improve individual health.
Why should methadone use last at least half a year? Is it possible to stop usage of methadone when the body recovers?
According to the treatment plan, methadone users will discuss the appropriate timing of withdrawal treatment based on the patient's treatment status (including detoxification ethics) at least six months after taking the medicine. The main reason is that detoxification is not only the physical rehabilitation from a drug, but more importantly, changes in social psychology and behavior. If the rehabilitation progress of the latter fails to match this, the patient’s inability to resist addiction will greatly increase the chances of relapse. Therefore, it is required to take methadone for at least six months.
What are the side effects of methadone?
Methadone is a relatively safe medicine for detoxification therapy. At the start of methadone treatment, there may be side effects such as itchy skin or rashes, constipation, sweating, nausea / vomiting, or decreased sexual interest, etc.; most side effects will disappear within a few weeks, while constipation and sweating may still persist.
Medication process
(facial recognition and electronic medical record registration system)
Use voice-operated access control during the medication
Outpatient registration (facial recognition)
Enter the medication room
Take the medication under observation
Say “open the door” to the radio
Leave
Drug Treatment Centres are located at:

 

Ilha Verde Health Centre

 

Hac Sa Wan (Areia Preta) Health Centre

 

Nossa Senhora do Carmo - Lago Health Centre

Case study
Da Man (anonym) is 37 years old, having had 22 years of drug use. Because of this, his relationship with his family used to be very tense. Da Man has been in the drug treatment center many times, but was still unable to cure his drug addiction because he was too addicted. In 2008, Da Man began to receive methadone maintenance treatment, and was eventually able to refuse drugs within three years of methadone use. After a period of time, however, he went back to taking drugs again due to major stress problems in life. Although Da Man received detoxification treatment, he still failed to quit. In 2013, Da Man received the methadone maintenance treatment plan again. During the three years of continuous medication, he successfully rejected the drug. Throughout this time, with encouragement from his family, Da Man was determined to switch to the methadone detoxification plan even though he still had to face addiction problems and physical discomfort a month after stopping the medication. Nevertheless, with a strong will and counselling with social workers (including support on stress management and making good use of free time), Da Man was finally able to build a new life.