Thursday, 20 October 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
67. Mr. Gogarty asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if the Prison Service has a policy that sets a maximum dosage of methadone allowable for prisoners; if so, the details of the maximum dosage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29736/05]
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Methadone is prescribed for prisoners as part of either a detoxification regime or, where clinically indicated, as part of a maintenance programme for prisoners who have either been on such a programme in the community prior to committal or who are, following clinical assessment, considered to be suitable candidates to commence such a programme while in prison.
The Prison Service has no policy indicating a maximum dosage of methadone allowable for prisoners. The level of dosage prescribed in each case is a matter for individual clinical decision. In situations where a newly committed prisoner shows evidence of recent opiate misuse and is being considered for a clinical detoxification using methadone it has been long standing policy guidance that, given the uncertainty of previous consumption, such a detoxification should commence with a low dose and be adjusted on the basis of ongoing clinical review. This is to minimise the risk of inadvertent overdose.
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