Call to open up oral methadone access

Oral methadone should be available throughout the country to treat
drug abuse, the prescribing experts group of the National Treatment
Agency for Substance Misuse says.

Its recommendation follows evidence that oral methadone treatment
helps to cut the number of deaths and prevent crime by intravenous
drug users.

It claims that treatment provided in primary care would be
appropriate for many users, and that to keep patients, higher doses
would be more effective than low doses.

But it emphasises that prescribing would be only one part of a
treatment package that should be available.

“A prescription alone is not the most effective way to treat a
client’s drug misuse,” said Dr Emily Finch of the Maudsley
Community Addictions Services. “Services must consider the range of
support their client needs and co-ordinate their care to ensure
they can access those services.”

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