Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (1889)

John Curran

Question:

1889. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health his plans to review the protocols on the methadone strategy; his views on whether there are sufficient progression pathways for persons on the methadone programme to become drug free; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34234/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Methadone is one of the medications used in opioid substitution treatment, along with suboxone. Methadone prescribing for opioid dependence is a key element of the harm reduction approach to opioid use set out in the National Drugs Strategy.

As of 30 June, 2019, 10,396 people were in receipt of methadone maintenance treatment.

A review of the methadone treatment protocol was published in December 2010. Arising from the review, the HSE implemented an opioid treatment protocol, so as to provide appropriate and timely substance treatment and rehabilitation services tailored to individual needs.

In 2016, the HSE published clinical guidelines for opioid substitution treatment. These guidelines are the first that specifically relate to opioid substitution treatment in HSE clinics and primary care settings.

Opioid substitution treatment supports patients to recover from drug dependence. HSE addiction services work within the national drugs rehabilitation framework to support progression pathways. The framework ensures that individuals affected by drug misuse are offered a range of integrated options tailored to meet their needs and to create rehabilitation pathways.

Methadone treatment it is an important tool to reduce harm and to aid people to recover from drug use. I am committed to improving the availability of this treatment and to supporting service users to access progression pathways.