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Drug Dependency (Treatment)

Volume 400: debated on Tuesday 25 February 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time was for an opiate dependent patient seeking treatment before he or she received treatment in the last year for which figures are available. [97643]

Opiate dependent patients receive treatment through the different treatment delivery methods as listed, depending on their clinical need. The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) has implemented a waiting times strategy which is significantly reducing waiting times. The longest waiting times reported to the NTA in drug action team treatment plans are shown in the table.

December 2001December 2002
In-patient detoxification128
Specialist prescribing148
GP prescribing54
Structured counselling75
Day Care63
Residential rehab97

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the proportion of opiate dependent patients seeking treatment who (a) proceed to receive treatment, (b) complete the course of treatment and (c) fail to report for treatment when offered. [97644]

Information on the numbers of drug misusers in contact with drug treatment agencies in England is available in "Statistics from the Regional Drug Misuse Databases on drug misusers in treatment in England, 2000–01" sb0133.htm. This document is available in the Library.The Department funded National Treatment Outcome Research Study demonstrates that around half, or 47 per cent., of drug users who have gone through residential programmes, and more than a third, or 35 per cent., of those from methadone programmes are still abstinent from opiates at four to five years. More than a third, or 38 per cent., of all the residential clients were also abstinent from all six illicit target drugs—illicit heroin, non-prescribed methadone, non-prescribed benzodiazepines, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, amphetamines—at four to five years.The National Drug Treatment Monitoring System collects data on drug users on arrest referral schemes which show that 48,810 individuals were screened between October 2000 and September 2001 in England and Wales, of whom over half were voluntarily referred to a specialist drug treatment service. Of those referred, a quarter made a demand for treatment, a total of 5,520 individuals.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of methadone is prescribed for (a) oral consumption and (b) delivery by injection. [97647]

96 per cent. of all prescription items for methadone hydrochloride that were dispensed in the community in England in 2001 were for oral consumption. The corresponding percentage for injections is 4 per cent.It should be noted that methadone is not only prescribed for opioid dependence and may be prescribed as a treatment for other conditions.