Impact of Buprenorphine Opioid Substitution Therapy Program in Nepal

The impact study of Buprenorphine substitution and treatment program (OST) is the first study of this kind carried out in four Youth Vision OST centers in Kathmandu Valley. The study population consisted of drug users (both IDUs and DUs) aged 18 years and above who were currently using OST from Youth Vision. The major objective of this study was to assess the impact of OST on the various aspects of life of opioid dependent population. The assessment study employed mixed research approaches. The qualitative research approach included semi-structured interviews with organizational key informants and the quantitative research was based on individual interviews with 220 opioid dependent populations (OST users).

A total of 41 percent respondents had started using OST with buprenorphine since last 24 months or more. Drug users starting OST in less than six months comprise 34 percent. Eighty percent of the respondents knew about the OST program offered by the Youth Vision through friends followed by the program of Youth Vision itself (29%).

The key informants perceived the reason for success of the OST program was due to ‘commitment’ of the Youth Vision, ‘community based’, ‘experienced’, ‘demand of OST’, follow-up and regular monitoring’, ‘client focused’, ‘improvement in the quality of life of drug users’, and ‘team work’.

In conclusion, the OST had brought positive changes in the lives of drug users and improved their health and family life situations in general. They became optimistic towards their lives and wished to become a normal person in future. However, they were found treated wrongly by police, for which they demanded being treated as dependent on a drug but not as criminals by the police. The coverage and access of the program was recommended to be increased. 

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