Tuesday, 20 June 2006

Ceisteanna (175, 176, 177)

Eoin Ryan

Ceist:

207 Mr. Eoin Ryan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her Department will expand options for opiate addicts beyond the use of methadone; and if so, when options (details supplied) will become available for use here. [23719/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Liz McManus

Ceist:

212 Ms McManus asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her views on the comparative merit of a product (details supplied) as an alternative to methadone; if she will provide funding if necessary for this use; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23814/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Health)

Tógfaigh mé Ceisteanna 207 agus 212 le chéile.

I am aware that the drug buprenorphine (trade name Subutex) is being proposed as an alternative to methadone in the treatment of opiate dependent addicts. The current position is that buprenorphine can be prescribed to opiate users by addiction service consultants in specialist drug treatment clinics, where the prescription and dispensing of buprenorphine is tightly controlled.

The Irish Medicines Board has recently amended the authorisation for Buprenorphine to allow it to be prescribed by General Practitioners who have specialist training in its use. My Department is considering the implications of this revised authorisation, especially in view of the diversion potential of Buprenorphine in its current form.

Eoin Ryan

Ceist:

208 Mr. Eoin Ryan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the steps her Department is considering to bring therapeutic options into the treatment of drug addiction here. [23720/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.