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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 53 - Misuse of drugs [8039/15].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 53 - Misuse of drugs [8039/15]. (25 Feb 2015)

53. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaílasked the Minister for Health the excessive length of time considered for a person to be on methadone treatment; his views that more than 1,300 persons have been on methadone treatment since the year 2000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8039/15]


Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Methadone maintenance treatment is a critical stabilising treatment that enables the individuals involved to counter their drug problem use and to rebuild their lives. This treatment, in conjunction with other services and supports, such as counselling, training, rehabilitation and after-care, provides a pathway to recovery for the individual affected by substance misuse.   


Retention in methadone treatment is generally regarded as a positive goal in drug treatment. A report from the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction on Substitution Treatment - Treatment Regimes indicates that no country surveyed, including Ireland, imposes a limit on the amount of time a person can be on methadone. A report from the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs warned that time limiting opiate substitution therapy would lead to high rates of relapse and could trigger more drug-related crime and increase the number of new cases of hepatitis C and HIV infection among drug users.

Government policy in relation to drugs emphasises the need to provide opportunities for people to move on from illicit drug use to a drug-free life where that is achievable. The National Drugs Rehabilitation Committee, chaired by the HSE, is overseeing the national roll-out of an integrated model of service provision based on shared care planning so that people in treatment can access the services needed to support their recovery. The HSE Operational Plan for 2015 also contains new performance measures which are designed to ensure that all substance misusers for whom treatment has commenced have a written care plan and an assigned key worker.

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