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Volume 457: debated on Friday 23 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what extent the drug naltrexone is used (a) in connection with probationary release of recidivist addict offenders and (b) to keep prisoners clean of opiates while they are in custody. (118714)

Naltrexone is available in many prisons. It is generally prescribed prior to release for drug-free offenders who wish to have additional prescribed support to help prevent their relapsing to opiate use.

This intervention is provided in conjunction with a community service which is willing to continue the prescription post-release. A national framework for continuity of care, comprising throughcare and aftercare has been set up together with The Home Office Drug Interventions Programme (DIP) and other key partners, National Treatment Agency, NOMS (including Prison service and Probation). This sets out arrangements for continuity of care for Criminal Justice Intervention Teams(CJITs) who deliver DIP in the community, the CARATs teams in prisons, offender managers and treatment providers.

Depending on assessed clinical need, Naltrexone can be prescribed on a voluntary basis to offenders under statutory supervision post-release as part of a relapse prevention plan. However, data on the extent of its use is not collected centrally.

Naltrexone may be also prescribed at any point in a prisoner's custody, to provide a similar pharmacological protection in prison.