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Methadone

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were prescribed methadone in (a) the UK, (b) the North East, (c) Tees Valley district and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency in each of the last 10 years; and what percentage of those prescribed methadone in the UK in each of the last 10 years were aged (i) under 18, (ii) between 18 and 25, (iii) between 26 and 40 and (iv) over 40 years at the date of first prescription. (229857)

The Department does not hold information on the number or age of patients treated with a particular drug. However we are able to provide two related sources of data covering the north east. These are the number of methadone prescriptions and the number of people receiving specialist prescribing treatment for drug misuse.

However, the number of items prescribed and dispensed for methadone is in the following table. Information is only held for the last 60 months and is based on the national health service organisation that most closely represents the areas requested.

Methadone can be used to treat more than one condition—it is licensed for use in opioid dependence, as an analgesic and as a cough suppressant.

Number of prescription items (not individuals receiving prescriptions) of methadone

Thousand

Financial year

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

England (prescribed in the community in England and dispensed in the UK)

1,089.7

1,310.6

1,585.7

1,894.7

England (prescribed in hospitals and dispensed in the community in England)

769.4

797.1

750.7

651.7

Subtotal for North East

103.7

136.3

162.2

179.6

North East SHA1

124.5

179.6

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear SHA

28.6

38.9

12.2

County Durham and Tees Valley SHA

75.0

97.3

25.5

Stockton on Tees Teaching PCT

16.5

21.6

21.8

21.8

Middlesbrough PCT2

27.4

31.4

30.3

31.3

Redcar and Cleveland PCT3

1.6

2.5

4.9

5.5

Following the primary care trust (PCT) reconfiguration in 2006

1 Northumberland, Tyne and Wear SHA and County Durham and Tees Valley SHA merged to form North East SHA.

2 A part of Middlesbrough PCT joined with others to form Redcar and Cleveland PCT.

Middlesbrough PCT remained but as a smaller PCT.

3 Langbaurgh PCT merged with a part of Middlesbrough PCT and became Redcar and Cleveland PCT.

Notes:

1. Due to these changes it is not possible to compare the numbers of items prescribed in one year to the number in the next.

2. National figures for prescriptions written in hospitals and dispensed in the community in England are sourced from Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA).

Source:

For all other figures was the Prescribing Analysis and Cost Tool (PACT)

The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse's (NTA) National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) collects data on people in drug treatment in England.

NDTMS records the numbers of people receiving specialist prescribing for drug treatment rather than the type of drug which is prescribed. Most of those in treatment receive oral methadone but buprenorphine or other substitute opioids may also be prescribed.

The NDTMS only records data based on local authority boundaries, and only since 2004-05. The NDTMS does not break down data specifically for the Tees Valley district, or Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland constituency, and only records data for England not the whole of the UK.

Data for the number of people receiving prescribing treatment for the local authority areas of Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland, as well as the north east and England, for each of the years since 2004-05 is given in the following table.

Number of individuals receiving prescribing treatment (including methadone) for drug misuse

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Middlesbrough

962

905

1,038

1,137

Redcar and Cleveland

379

378

417

518

North East

6,248

7,175

7,930

9,145

England

88,196

107,093

118,107

131,468

The percentages of people receiving prescribing treatment in England, for the age brackets as requested and since 2004-05 are in the following table.

Percentage of people receiving prescribing treatment (including methadone) by age

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Under 18

1

0

0

0

18 to 25

28

25

24

22

26 to 40

58

61

62

64

40 plus

11

13

14

15

Note:

Due to rounding, percentages may not always total 100 per cent.