Methadone Protocol Review Launch
In December 2010, the HSE published the Introduction of the Opioid Treatment Protocol, a wide ranging review of the Methadone Treatment Protocol . The review examines the current regulatory processes and oversight arrangements for opiate dependence treatment in Ireland. It is the first comprehensive external review following a consultation process with key stakeholders. For this feature, we have produced a video covering the official launch of the review report. This video also includes brief interviews with some of the key individuals involved in the review process.
Minister Pat Carey, TD, Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, officially launched the much anticipated document to a crowded room of spectators at the Drug Treatment Centre Board in Dublin City Centre.
Minister Carey welcomed the recommendations and urged their speedy implementation. He noted that whilst heroin use has stabilised in Dublin, it has spread to farther towns across the country, resulting in the need to increase the availability of services outside the Dublin area.
Professor Micheal Farrell, Professor of Addiction Psychiatry at Kings College London, conducted this first independent review of the methadone treatment protocol with the support of Professor Joe Barry, Trinity College Dublin. At the launch he thanked all contributors for giving evidence, noting the strong variety of views, which were a challenge to consolidate. Speaking about opiate dependence treatment in Ireland as a “process that started 12 years ago” for which "there are no magic responses”, Professor Farrell called upon services to take into the next decade a more integrated approach to treatment, with shared care planning for patients across all treatment modalities.
Assistant National Director of Services for the Social Inclusion Directorate of the HSE, Ms Alice O’Flynn, who commissioned the report, commended the substantial input made by clinicians, service users and the community and voluntary sector in informing the review process. Whilst the recommendations pose challenges for all involved in delivering addiction services, Ms O’Flynn highlighted the tremendous body of expertise and knowledge that exists in the sector.
As the title suggests, one of the key recommendations in the review is to extend the protocol to include pharmacological therapies other than methadone, namely buprenorphine and buprenorphine in combination with naloxone. A total of 48 recommendations are made in the report.
Watch the review launch and interviews
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