Algarve to offer methadone to “drug addicted” tourists

The Algarve is to become the first region in Portugal to provide methadone to tourists who are struggling or recovering from drug addictions.

Described as “pioneering” in Portugal, the project is set to begin in 2017, regional health authority ARS Algarve has revealed.

“It’s a way of monitoring the treatment of foreign tourists addicted to drugs who come here and also reduce the risks associated to the transportation of large amounts of methadone (into the country),” ARS Algarve president João Moura Reis told Lusa news agency.

In other words, another of the project’s goals is to reduce the illegal trafficking of the substance.

To receive the methadone, tourists must be “referenced” by health services in their countries. Their information is then passed onto the Algarve’s DICADs (addictive behaviour offices) which will only provide the methadone to people who are registered in their own countries.

Methadone is an opioid medication. According to, it “reduces withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to heroin or other narcotic drugs without causing the ‘high’ associated with the drug addiction”.

It is a pain reliever and is used frequently in drug addiction detoxification and maintenance programmes.

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