Methadone and needle exchange

A selection of our pharmacies offer a variety of services for substance misuse and facilities for needle exchange.  Contact your local Peak Pharmacy or Tims & Parker Pharmacy to find out if they are offering these services.

The services we offer include supervised methadone consumption, instalment, dispensing and needle exchange.  Consultation and treatment is discreet and private.

Further information about recovering from drug misuse...

(taken from the NHS website) - Click here to read the full section & watch videos on the nhs website

There are two types of treatment for drug misuse:

  • pharmacological treatment, where medication is used to ease drug withdrawal symptoms, and
  • psychological treatment, where a range of different therapies are used to help you stay off drugs.

Pharmacological treatments

Pharmacological treatments are only available for people with a heroin or tranquilliser addiction. There are currently no pharmacological treatments for other types of drug.


If you have a heroin addiction, there are two different medications that can ease your withdrawal symptoms. These are:

  • methadone, and
  • buprenorphine.

Both medications are synthetic (artificial) opiates that replicate some of the effects of heroin on the brain. The brain is ‘tricked’ into thinking that it is receiving a dose of heroin, so you do not have withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone and buprenorphine can be used in two ways:

  • withdrawal therapy, where the doses of medication are gradually reduced over time before the treatment is withdrawn, and
  • maintenance therapy, where you receive regular doses of medication on a long-term basis.

Many people choose to have maintenance therapy for several months so that their health and general wellbeing can improve. Once they are physically and psychologically stronger, they choose to withdraw from the treatment.

Because there is a possibility that a person may not use the medication as directed (for example, by selling their methadone to others), you may have to take the medication under supervision. You may also be required to have regular urine tests to check that you are not taking heroin.


Naltrexone is a medication that can be used when you have not taken heroin for several weeks but are worried that you may relapse and take heroin again.

Naltrexone blocks the effects of heroin on your brain, so even if you take heroin you will not experience a high.


Depending on how addicted you are, you may be prescribed a course of tranquillisers to ease your withdrawal symptoms. The dose will gradually be reduced over time until treatment is withdrawn.

Psychological treatments

Self-help groups

Many people who have a drug misuse problem join a self-help group, such as Narcotics Anonymous.

Most of these groups are based on a 12-step programme to overcome addiction (created by Alcoholics Anonymous), which includes the following points:

  • You admit that you are unable to control your addiction or compulsion.
  • You recognise that you need a power greater than yourself to restore your strength.
  • You examine past errors in your life with the help of a sponsor (an experienced member of the group).
  • You make amends for those errors.
  • You learn to live a new life with a new code of behaviour.
  • You help others who have the same addiction or compulsion.

Contingency management

Contingency management uses a series of techniques to change a person’s behaviour. You will be offered incentives, in the form of shopping vouchers, if you manage not to take drugs.

You will usually be given a £2 shopping voucher if urine tests show that you have not taken drugs for a week. The longer you stay free from drugs, the more vouchers you will receive.


Your local pharmacy may not offer all the services listed in this section. Please contact your local store to find out which services are available

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