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Some addiction treatment fails to tackle dependence

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Heroin addicts that have been “parked” on substitute drugs should have their prescription reviewed immediately, a report from an expert panel into treating addiction has recommended.

The two year inquiry involved nurses, GPs and service users and was chaired by Professor John Strang of the National Addiction Centre.

Its report, published by the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse, sets out detailed advice for improving drug treatment.

The group found there was a culture of commissioning and practice that allowed individuals to remain on heroin substitutes for long periods without tackling their dependence.

However, they rejected imposing time-limits on treatment, warning that arbitrarily limiting the use of substitute medication would prevent addicts from sustaining their recovery.

They recommended health professionals working with heroin addicts should review all existing patients to ensure their treatment is focused on achieving abstinence.

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