Methadone to the UK

Mar 9th, 2005, 06:52 AM
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Methadone to the UK

After me raving about the information on Fodor's, a friend asked me to post this question. I'm only slightly familiar with Methadone, and having read some older posts, I thought I'd throw it out there for the locals to comment on.

Her and her partner are going to travel to London in the Fall (could be October, but not certain). Her partner is on a Methadone maint. program and requires the medication daily. They are going for approx two weeks.

Fodors is my first stop for info. Any relevant sites etc, please let me know. I'm hoping to have some scrape the surface info for her so that when she gets a new pc (after a fatal pc crash!) she can take it from there.

Any information is greatly appreciated!
mamarosa is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 06:59 AM
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With a doctor's prescription in their name then I'm sure there wouldn't be too much of a problem. Furthermore it's highly unlikely that you'll be searched.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 07:13 AM
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mamarosa -

May I suggest the following link to the Drug Policy Alliance -

While you won't be able to get your direct answer there, it could be a starting point for research. Peace. >-

artstuff is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 11:21 AM
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Methadone is a controlled substance in the UK. Importing it without the right paperwork is a serious criminal offence. A foreign doctor's prescription is ABSOLUTELY NOT sufficient. Do double and treble-check what I'm saying. British Customs officers have draconian powers of arrest and search: they're utter pussycats if a foreign visitor accidentally imports an undeclared bottle of bourbon, but can turn into unaccountable Stalinist thugs if they think hard drugs - or methadone - are being smuggled in.

Your friend needs an import licence, which will be granted only for a small quantity and after a great deal of paperwork. If the quantity is insufficient, your friend also needs to arrange for a UK doctor to prescribe further doses. She really needs to organise this well in advance.

One source of advice on all this is at

Licence forms are at

If you import goods into Britain with an import licence, you must go through the red channel and speak to an officer. You can't go through the green channel. EU rules on the free movement of goods do not apply to controlled substances, and import licences are needed even if methadone is being imported from another EU country.

MK2 is right in saying she's unlikely to be searched if she just breezes in. But, if she were to be stopped, she'd be in very hot water indeed. Ordinarily in Britain, ignoring the law and saying you're a foreign tourist just gets a "well, next time, ma'am..." from officialdom. This is absolutely not such a case.
flanneruk is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 11:36 AM
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This isn't a real question. Anyone on daily methadone maintenance would explain where he/she is going and for how long, and a prescription for that period of time would be provided. You don't fill a U.S. prescription in England, or anywhere else. The script must be signed by a doctor licensed in the country of purchase. Anyone traveling overseas on ANY medication would know this. . .
kswl is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 11:36 AM
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She must not be the first person on methadone maintenance who ever travelled abroad. It seems that the clinic/prescriber should be conversant with the requirements of foreign travel.
socialworker is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 11:52 AM
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I am certainly no expert on Methadone. However, my brother is an ex-heroin addict and has been on Methadone therapy here in the US. He lives in central New York, and had to drive one hour each day for his Methadone because there was no clinic in the town he lives in. If my brother had to drive 60 miles to receive his daily Methadone, how could someone, like Mamarosa's friend, receive a "supply" of it? This I don't understand. Something smells rotten in Denmark.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 01:36 PM
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You know, I tried to ask a serious question, and I was just shy of being called a troll. Granted, I have not been contributing to this site for long, but I have done nothing in the past to even slightly suggest that I would ask anything other than a "REAL" question. So........

Thanks to all for the information.....Flanneruk.....thank you so much for the detailed information, it is truly appreciated.

For the doubters (kswl and ThinG), not that I should have to explain to anyone, BUT....if you knew about methadone maint. programs, you would know that ex-addicts can 'earn' what are called take-home bottles, based on their 'clean' time. If a patient has ZERO dirty urines or saliva swabs, and they have actively participated in their sobriety counseling, they are entitled, under strict federal guidelines to take doses home with them, in sealed bottles. Some patients can work themselves up to taking home monthly doses. This takes years of hard work on an addicts part, and is considered something to be proud of along the lines of addiction therapy.

Now, how do I know this......because I husband is the one on methadone, I chose not to disclose that information in my post, because of the ignorance that surrounds this particular subject. He is working with his clinic to get the proper paperwork together, but I wanted to know for myself, so that I can make sure nothing is missed.

mamarosa is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 02:57 PM
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I don't know the answer to this one, but mamarosa's explanation sounds right to me. The regime she outlines is broadly similar to the rules here in Australia and is designed to ensure that users don't hoard methadone to top up, or sell for, smack.

A British pharmacist honouring a US doctor's prescription - where did that idea come from? Again, if it's anything like our situation, no foreign doctor's prescription would be honoured; I recently checked this with my local pharmacist on behalf of an American visitor in relation to a common migraine medication.

flanneruk's advice should be heeded: methadone is an opiate, and to blithely advise that "it's highly unlikely that you'll be searched" strikes me as stunningly irresponsible - easy to say when you're not running the risk. I would think that the agency running the maintenance program should have access to appropriate advice.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 03:47 PM
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Listen, Mamarosa, don't take a hissy fit with me. I stated at the beginning of my post that I was no expert on Methadone. I only know what my brother went through. He was told he had to drive the 60 miles each day for his Methadone. He could not receive a supply of it--not even a extra days worth.

You can't chastise me for doubting you. You admitted you LIED. You should have been upfront about your situation. Your original post sounded very "fishy."

But what really strikes me as odd is that you would post this on Fodors. If you are so concerned about your husband, why don't you contact the British authorities. Surely, they would know much more than we would. Why would you ever take the kind of chance that could land you in prison??????????
ThinGorjus is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 03:57 PM
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Who said anything about taking a chance that could land me in prison????

I stated in my response that my husband was working with his clinic to get the paperwork together, but because of HIPAA guidelines and privacy rules, I'm not privy to the paperwork part of it. I wanted to see if I could gather information for my own piece of mind.

I saw some previous posts regarding this subject, but nothing was very clear and I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask.

In the past, my husband has had to drive 75 miles, each way, to get his dose, and in the beginning, this was done every day. We now live in an area that has a clinic close and he has earned take home bottles.

I was not having a hissy fit, I was however shocked that my question was quiestioned (for lack of a better phrase). I was simply looking for information, websites etc.

I've done Google searches etc, but there's alot of information out there and I wanted to see if I could narrow the info down a bit.
mamarosa is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 04:01 PM
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And yes, as I admitted, I did lie, but that was easier than going through the trouble of creating an alias and being called a troll. I have noticed that if one or more of the regulars on this site feel that a new post is not up to snuff, they tend to pounce on that person and very little valid information is exchanged. I, myself am also guilty of this.

I can say that I might think a message such as my first might have caused my troll radar to flash, if it had been a first time poster. But, it wasn't from a first time poster, it was from someone who has participated in this site for a few months now, with no previous troll-like messages.
mamarosa is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 05:41 PM
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I find this interesting as I am a lifelong diabetic and have traveled the world and only been stopped with sytinges and bottles in one country/airport in my pockets and bags. That country--Taiwan. Mostly for the syringe in my pocket as a weapon Got some curious looks from a Shanghai customs person as he stared at the bottles as I tried to explain while they called over sercurity. But I have travelled with 80 syringes, numerous bottles of isulin (usually travel with 10-15 bottles in every piece of luggage in case one is lost or stolen) and numerous other drugs (some from a doctor and some bought in a Mexican border town) But have never carried a written prescpription with me since it can not be filled or sometimes read Although getting caught with methadone is different than trying to explain what "diabetic" is to a part of the world that it barely exists. So, even with paperwork, to help on the explaining and in case of losing a bag, keep the bottles well hidden and in separate bags if you can. BTW....Thingorjus Don't be so vain. I think mamarosa's email was aimed at KSWL, more than anyone.
Subway_Scoundrel is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 06:23 PM
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Hi mamarosa--if I understand HIPAA at all, your husband could sign a release of information so that you could be informed about this situation, esp since you will be travelling together. He can specify that the release is only related to info about the transporting issue, if he prefers to keep the rest of his record confidential.
socialworker is offline  
Mar 10th, 2005, 04:27 AM
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If she knows so much about it, why is she asking for information on a travel board? If her information is correct, then her problem is that she doesn't trust her husband---didn't she say that patients could "earn" a monthly dose to take home? Are they planning to travel to Europe for longer than a month? If what she's really concerned about is that he hasn't earned a month of medication, her problems cannot be addressed by a message board.
kswl is offline  
Mar 10th, 2005, 04:31 AM
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p.s. not sure I would travel with (or be married to, for that matter) someone who had a profound medical condition/problem and would not share the "paperwork" with me.
kswl is offline  
Mar 10th, 2005, 04:48 AM
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I think you should all stop giving mamarosa a hard time.

I can understand worrying that the clinic might not have the right information to enable a patient to take methadone abroad & wanting to check it with anyone else who's done it. I don't know where she lives but maybe it is a small place & maybe the clinic hasn't had a patient travelling abroad before. people, even institutions, can get thinfs wrong, & I wouldn't want to find out when it's too late.

Good luck to you, mamarosa, and I hope you have a lovely trip.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Mar 10th, 2005, 05:19 AM
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A single search of "methadone travel" provided this information from the following website:
about methadone importation into the UK. As with all information from the internet, it should be checked with an official source of information.

Importation of Methadone/Buprenorphine: possible

Methadone is a Class A drug controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and its importation into the UK would normally require a licence issued by the Home Office. The importation of small quantities of methadone is, however, permitted without a specific licence under the provisions of the Home Office's Open General License (OGL). The OGL is a mechanism which allows small quantities of controlled drugs (though only in medical form) to be imported into, or exported from, the UK for use by travellers as medication. The current allowance for methadone in tablet or linctus form is 500mg. Travellers bringing methadone into the UK must have with them a covering letter from their prescribing doctor which will enable them to establish their bona fides if questioned by a Customs Officer. In case a patient needs to import more than this allowance the prescribing doctor must send an application for a Home Office licence to the Home Office Drugs Branch (at least 14 days in advance of his/her patient's journey) in the form of a letter containing the following details:
1. Patient's name, address, and date of birth;
2. Dates of entry and return from the UK;
3. Drug details (name, form, strength, and total quantity).
These arrangements apply equally to EU citizens as to third country nationals.
Regarding buprenorphine patients need to carry with them a letter from their home prescriber providing the same details.

Surely your husband's clinic has provided him with the information and letter, since your trip is in May.
kswl is offline  
Mar 10th, 2005, 05:59 AM
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..I would suggest that your friend talk to his methadone provider. (From your note I do not know what country he presently lives in. I am familiar only with my own jurisdiction. Methadone supply is carefully regulated and given from a few clinics which are very highly regulated. The provider will almost certainly be aware of travel requirements and would be able to familiarlize your friend with these and might be able to connect him witha foreign supplier if necessary (and/or possible).
travelbunny is offline  
Mar 10th, 2005, 08:36 AM
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I am with you, kwl. In mamarosa's first post she writes that she knows nothing aboutt Methadone <I'm SLIGHTLY familiar with Methadone>. In her second post, she sounds like a doctor.

I have been handing out travel advice for 4 years on this site. I can usually spot a troll.

I HATE trolls. They waste everyone's valuable time.
ThinGorjus is offline  

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