Intended for healthcare professionals


Seven doctors accused of over-prescribing heroin

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 26 February 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:483

Several Inaccuracies

There are several inaccuracies in the piece by Owen Dyer.

Firstly the Stapleford Clinic has never prescribed heroin as no Dr
there has a home office license to prescribe diamorphine.

Secondly the case is not about methadone maintenance as the charges
relate to inadequate supervision, inadequate record keeping, inadequate
contact with GPs and others, irresposibly large doses and dangerous
detoxification procedures, with one death being cited.

Thirdly, methadone maintenance is the accepted treatment nodality in
the NHS and is advocated in the national clinical guidelines. There are a
few areas that still do not offer it but they are coming under heavy
pressure from the National Treatment Agency. The recommended doses are
possibly lower than in the Stapleford clinic but they are in line with
international evidence.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

27 February 2004
Jim L Barnard
primary care adviser
SMMGP, ashton lane sale M33 6WT