Specialists question agency’s proposal to time limit methadone prescribing

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 23 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c3998
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

    Specialists on addiction are warning that the recommendation from England’s National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse to limit the length of time that methadone can be prescribed in the community is not based on evidence and will do more harm than good.

    The proposal, made in the agency’s draft business plan for 2010-11 and discussed at a meeting on 6 July, is an effort to improve rates of abstinence.

    The agency, a special health authority set up to help people overcome addiction by improving the availability and effectiveness of drug treatment, revised its business plan in the light of the coalition government’s priorities. It said that it intends to “take forward the government’s ambition for a rapid transformation of the treatment system to promote sustained recovery and get more people off illegal drugs for good.”

    The draft plan states that “no-one should be ‘parked’ indefinitely on methadone or similar opiate substitutes without …

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