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An overview of legal and policy barriers to opioid analgesics access and opioid agonist therapy in Morocco

Khalid Tinasti (Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneve, Switzerland)
Lahcen Outaleb (Medicine and Pharmacy Faculty, Mohammed V University of Rabat, Rabat, Morocco)

Drugs, Habits and Social Policy

ISSN: 2752-6739

Article publication date: 13 October 2023

Issue publication date: 28 November 2023




Through its 1922 Act on poisonous substances and more recent national normative guidance, Morocco attempts to address high prevalence of HIV among people who inject illegal opioids, and to lift legal and policy barriers to the availability of opioid-based essential controlled medicines. This paper aims to map the Moroccan opioid regulation environment, with a focus on responses to the legal and illegal markets.


The policy paper focuses on legal provisions for the control of opioids for pain relief and methadone for substitution therapies. It reviews existing reported data from official national, regional and international sources, studies and grey literature. It allows, by presenting the current state of affairs, to measure the limited pace of policy changes.


The authors provide a clear mapping of the laws and regulations restricting access to opioids in Morocco; the health impacts on populations; and an overall overview of institutional barriers to policy change despite more efforts such as the introduction of opioid agonist therapies.

Research limitations/implications

Due to limited available data and sources, the policy paper exploits the maximum of existing evidence from national and international sources to provide an overall review of opioid control policies in Morocco.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this policy paper is among the first to explore the legal environment of opioid use and control in Morocco, to highlight policy reforms, and to analyse the barriers to access to opioids.



Tinasti, K. and Outaleb, L. (2023), "An overview of legal and policy barriers to opioid analgesics access and opioid agonist therapy in Morocco", Drugs, Habits and Social Policy, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 252-258.



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