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Drugs: Rehabilitation

Volume 476: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prescriptions were dispensed for (a) subutex, (b) methadone and (c) other opiate replacements in each strategic health authority in each of the last five years. (197960)

The information requested is set out in the following tables.

The Government have made a substantial investment in drug treatment with £604 million being spent in 2007-08 compared to £287 million in 2001-02. The increased dispensing is largely a reflection of the significant increase in the numbers of patients in drug treatment over the past 10 years, increases in dosages and people staying in treatment longer (a measure of effectiveness) thereby receiving more prescriptions.

Prescription items for subutex1 dispensed in the community in England

Thousand

Strategic health authority (SHA)

February to December 20032

2004

2005

2006

2007

East of England

22.4

38.8

45.1

51.9

53.3

London

21.1

34.9

49.6

68.4

71.4

North East

17.0

29.8

35.0

39.5

42.0

North West

41.2

63.0

71.4

85.9

87.3

South Central

26.6

41.7

47.2

51.1

49.6

South East Coast

17.1

30.8

32.2

33.3

32.4

South West

29.2

40.6

45.9

53.3

59.4

West Midlands

48.2

66.8

69.3

72.4

71.8

Yorkshire and the Humber

48.8

82.4

92.9

104.8

103.3

Total

292.0

462.8

532.7

610.8

621.0

Source: Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA).

Prescription items for methadone3 (all formulations) dispensed in the community in England

Thousand

SHA

February to December 20032

2004

2005

2006

2007

East of England

104.8

125.7

137.4

151.4

167.3

London

219.7

253.5

264.6

278.4

299.0

North East

95.6

141.5

167.2

183.2

193.6

North West

404.8

455.9

473.3

492.9

514.5

South Central

70.8

76.6

91.3

102.3

117.8

South East Coast

68.8

75.1

78.7

89.4

108.0

South West

125.8

150.8

169.7

182.5

204.7

West Midlands

141.6

188.1

226.6

265.8

291.8

Yorkshire and the Humber

176.4

232.5

293.9

355.9

394.2

Total

1,486.7

1,810.0

2,044.0

2,277.1

2,491.9

Source:PCA.

Prescription items for suboxone4 dispensed in the community in England

Thousand

SHA

2006

2007

East of England

0

0.9

London

0

0.2

North East

0

0.3

North West

0

2.9

South Central

0

3.3

South East Coast

0

0.6

South West

0

2.9

West Midlands

<0.1

1.0

Yorkshire and the Humber

0

6.3

Total

<0.1

19.3

1 Subutex is a brand name for buprenorphine and is a substitution treatment for opioid drug dependence. 2 The prescription pricing division of the NHS business services authority keeps data for only 60 months. The figures provided cover the period from February 2003 up to the end of 2007. The SHA is the one in which the prescription was dispensed. 3 Methadone is prescribed for use in the treatment of opioid drug addiction, however it is also used in the treatment of cough in terminal disease and analgesia. The figures reflect prescriptions dispensed for all indications and formulations. 4 The only other substantive treatment for opioid drug dependence is suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. This was not dispensed earlier than 1 December 2006. Source: PCA.