World Tapering Day is initiative of the Vereniging Afbouwmedicatie (VA: Dutch Association for Tapering Medication) and Stichting Opiaten Afbouwen (OA: Foundation for Tapering Opioids).
Both organisations support the use of taperingstrips for tapering psychotropic medication. However, neither VA, nor OA have any financial ties with the producers of taperingstrips in the Netherlands. We do not receive money or financial incentives and have no vested interest in the procuction or sale of taperingstrips.
We also want to emphasize that both VA and OA are not-for-profit organisations, run solely by volunteers. Nobody receives a salary or any financial incentive for the work that we do.
Our standpoint on the effectivity of taperingstrips has come about because of the following. VA receives about 3.000 enquiries every year from people who are stuck in their tapering programme and do not know how to continue; either because of serious withdrawal symptoms, or because they are simply unable to bring down the dose any further.
To help these people, in the past few years VA has informed many of them about taperingstrips. The background of this advice was originally that Pauline Dinkelberg, (chairperson of the VA who works as an active volunteer for the VA) tapered Zopiclon as well as Mirtazepine successfully herself, using taperingstrips.
As a patient advocate with VA, she began passing on this information. As the VA always keeps in touch with people who request help, the VA has noticed that the success rate of tapering off medication using taperingstrips is very good.
People indicate quite often that they find tapering with taperingstrips much more comfortable. because they experience fewer withdrawal effects and feel better. By most users, taperingstrips are perceived as a big improvement compared to the way they were tapering before, i.e. counting beads, chopping pills or measuring liquids.
VA has been campaigning for four years (including litigation in several court cases) to call for reimbursement of the cost of tapering strips by health-insurance companies in the Netherlands.