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Volume 403: debated on Monday 7 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the practice of automatic detoxification within prisons of patients previously stabilised in the community on substitute prescriptions has been discontinued. [106592]

On first reception into custody, each prisoner has a general health examination/assessment, which aims to identify any current or previous drug usage and engagement with community drugs services. The decision whether, in the light of this information, to proceed with either detoxification or substitute prescribing, as a prelude to a broader based drug treatment programme, is a matter for the clinical judgement of the practitioner concerned.The prison service's standard for clinical services for substance misusers requires all prisons which receive prisoners from court to have detoxification guidelines in place for at least one of Methadone, Lofexidine, and Dihydrocodeine. It also requires establishments to have evidence-based guidelines for maintenance prescription that are consistent with current Department of Health guidance and provides advice about the particular categories of prisoners for whom maintenance prescription is likely to be suitable.