Drugs: Prisons

Health written question – answered on 11th July 2012.

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Photo of Keith Vaz Keith Vaz Chair, Home Affairs Committee, Chair, Home Affairs Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what clinical advice his Department provides on drug treatment in prison for those addicted to heroin; and what National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines exist on such treatment.

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow The Minister of State, Department of Health

In 2006 the Department issued comprehensive guidance on the clinical drug treatment in prisons. In March 2010, this guidance was reiterated and reinforced to ensure that other than in exceptional circumstances, prison opioid substitution treatments (including methadone maintenance) should not exceed six months' duration.

In 2007, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence issued a Technology Appraisal of methadone and buprenorphine for the management of opioid dependence, which found that these treatments were cost-effective and recommended their use to national health service funded organisations, including prisons.

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