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Guidance for supervised methadone consumption – Covid-19

  • Wales
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland

To reduce the potential spread of COVID – 19, precautionary measures are being taken and reinforced across the UK to prevent the spread of the infection.

Community Pharmacies should be reviewing their business continuity plans (sample and ensuring that any contingency plans are robust and in place.

As part of the Numark resources to support our members we have produced some Guidance for Supervised Methadone consumption that can be used during the current outbreak.

As part of your contingency planning, you are advised to contact the drug and alcohol teams to discuss whether they are making any plans for amending any of their procedures during the various phases used by the government to respond to COVID-19. This will allow you to ensure your teams and services users are aware of what to expect.

When providing supervised methadone services, patients will be taking medication prepared by a staff member(s) and then will be leaving a used bottle in the pharmacy for a staff member to dispose of. This procedure will increase the chance of spreading any infection(s) both for the patients and staff members, so precautions should be taken to reduce the risk of this occurring.

Procedure for supervised methadone


When preparing the methadone, ensure adequate cleaning of hands and wrists using soap and warm water (hand sanitiser if available)

Ensure conical measure has been cleaned with appropriate cleaning material

Clean surface area(s) with a suitable disinfectant.

As per normal guidance, ensure new bottles are used to prepare daily doses (DO NOT RE-USE BOTTLES).

Prepare dose and store in CD cabinet.

Consultation Room

Ensure that the consultation room is clean and tidy.

Ensure adequate handwashing facilities with soap/hand sanitiser are available in the consultation room

Suitable disinfectant equipment should be available for use after each supervised consultation

Clinical Waste Bags (or other suitable bags) should be available


When patient attends pharmacy for collection of daily dose

Confirm identity of patient, wash your hands with soap and water and obtain prepared dose from CD cabinet

Confirm dose with patient and whether sugar or sugar free etc

Navigate patient into the consultation room

Encourage patient to wash hands with soap and water

Provide patient with dose and supervise as per your normal procedure

Once patient has taken the dose, ask them to replace the cap onto the bottle and place the bottle into the clinical bag.

Close the clinical bag by tying a loose knot to the top of the bag

Once patient has left the consultation room, wash your hands with soap and water and disinfect any surfaces as appropriate.

Ensure the consultation room is locked after use