Written Answers - Drug Treatment Programme.

Thursday, 29 June 2006

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 622 No. 31

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  132.  Mr. Gogarty  Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   the number and percentage of identified drug addicts living in the Clondalkin, Lucan, Palmerstown, Rathcoole, Newcastle, Saggart and Brittas areas who are actively trying to deal with their addiction but are not on a recognised drug treatment course or on a methadone maintenance programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25458/06]

Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The Deputy’s question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

  133.  Mr. Gogarty  Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   the reason a quota system exists with general practitioners whereby methadone can only be prescribed for a limited number of drug addicts; the length of time this system has been in operation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25459/06]

Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The Methadone Treatment Protocol governs the prescription and supply of methadone to people who are opiate dependent and has been in operation since 1998. There is a cap on the number of patients who may be treated by Level 1 and Level 2 general practitioners, who have received specialist training in the treatment of patients who are opiate dependent. A Level 1 GP can treat up to a maximum of 15 patients. A level 2 GP can treat up to a maximum of 35 patients or a maximum of 50 in a partnership with 2 or more doctors in their own practice. The cap on numbers is to ensure patient safety and quality of service.

The 2002 Review of the Methadone Treatment Protocol recommended that in certain exceptional circumstances these numbers may be increased. Any increases in numbers would only take place with the approval of The Irish College of General Practitioners/Health Service Executive Review Group following an application from the GP/practice concerned.

  134.  Mr. Gogarty  Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   if her attention has been drawn to the problem whereby some drug addicts who are unable to get methadone via their general practitioners and are unable to get onto a drug treatment programme have to get their supplies via the black market; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25460/06]

Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The Deputy’s question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.


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