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Methadone: Young Offenders

Volume 507: debated on Thursday 11 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the answer of 6 July 2009, Official Report, column 589W, on methadone: young offenders, if he will take steps to record information on the treatment of young offenders with methadone and subutex; and whether his Department has undertaken an evaluation of (a) the value for money and (b) effectiveness of the use of (i) methadone and (ii) subutex for the treatment of drug misuse amongst young offenders in custodial settings. (321632)

As stated in the answer of 6 July 2009, information on the treatment of young offenders with methadone and subutex is not currently available.

A joint Home Office, National Treatment Agency and Department of Health project has redesigned the Drug Information Record (DIR) and Prison Activity Form which came into use on 1 April 2009. There are some changes to the DIR but most of the changes are to the Activity Form. The new Activity Form will be used for all new significant events (treatment starts and types of treatment, such as detoxification and maintenance prescription) for new clients and existing caseload clients.

The DIR form is used for data collection for all adults including those aged 18 to 20. As data quality improves, we hope to have accurate baseline data next year for this age group for 2010-11.

Clinical interventions (including methadone and subutex) for drug treatment, whether for detoxification or maintenance purposes, are delivered as part of the Integrated Drug Treatment System (IDTS) and in line with the latest clinical guidelines.

Two providers are evaluating the impact of the implementation of the IDTS in prison and its effect on offenders, some of whom will be aged 18 to 20 years. Reports from the evaluation will be available in 2012.

Alongside the IDTS evaluation, Professor Lord Kamlesh Patel is chairing the Prison Drug Treatment Strategy Review Group. The group is specifically considering:

the key outcomes needed to reduce substance misuse, both in prison and on release into the community;

a set of national minimum standards for drug treatment in prison;

opportunities for achieving efficiency savings to invest in prison and community drug treatment services;

examining the case for prioritising the treatment needs for some drug dependent groups, both in prison and on release;

the commissioning models and funding streams at national, regional and local level in order to target services more effectively; and

systems for improved information sharing to support better quality performance management and case management.

This is a two-year work programme running from April 2009 to March 2011.