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Drugs: Rehabilitation

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of methadone prescriptions relating to substance abuse were made by general practitioners in the latest period for which figures are available; and how many of these were not made as part of formal drug treatment programmes. (229663)

I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave him on 17 October 2008, Official Report, column 1557W.

The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse does not collect data on prescriptions made outside of structured drug treatment programmes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients were prescribed (a) methadone and (b) other hard drug substitutes in each of the last five years. (229665)

The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse collects data on the local services via the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS). The NDTMS does not record the specific substitute drug a drug misuser in treatment is prescribed and while the majority of clients will have received methadone, clients’ treatment programmes/regimes may have included buprenorphine and diamorphine.

The following table shows the number of clients receiving substitute prescribing in both primary care (general practitioner prescribing) and secondary care (specialist prescribing).

Number of clients

2007-08

131,468

2006-07

118,107

2005-06

107,093

2004-05

88,196

Figures are not provided for 2003-04 for data quality reasons. The current NDTMS data collection began in April 2004 and although some data was collected retrospectively for the period 2003-04 this is incomplete.