Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on National Drugs Strategy, John Curran TD has said that without patient centered care plans in place those in receipt of Opioid Substitution Treatment in Ireland are not adequately supported to effectively rehabilitate or recover from drug addiction.

The latest figures obtained by the Deputy indicate that as of April 2018 there were 10,282 people in receipt of methadone treatment in Ireland. The Health Service Executive also confirmed that close to 40% of those on Opioid Substitution Treatment have been on Methadone for 10 years or more.

A report published yesterday by Trinity College Dublin found that majority of those on long term methadone treatment do not have access to the necessary economic, social or personal resources to bolster and sustain the recovery process.

Deputy Curran commented, “Methadone might very well be thought of as a less dangerous alternative and common treatment for heroin addiction but it must also be recognised that it is itself a synthetic opioid.

“The National Drugs Strategy aims to minimise the harm caused by the use and misuse of substances but also to promote rehabilitation and recovery – it seems at odds then to neglect the fact that methadone is not a suitable long term bridge to sobriety.

“The prolonged supply of methadone without an integrated care plan and the absence of any continuity of care for these patients raise serious ethical questions that should be considered. Offering a substitute treatment programme with no care plan means former heroin users are left without a pathway to effective rehabilitation.”