Written answers

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Department of Health

Addiction Treatment Services

Photo of Maureen O'SullivanMaureen O'Sullivan (Dublin Central, Independent)
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58. To ask the Minister for Health the waiting lists and the options for those wanting to detox from benzodiazepines and similar substances. [50827/18]

Photo of Catherine ByrneCatherine Byrne (Dublin South Central, Fine Gael)
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The Health Service Executive has overall responsibility for the provision of addiction treatment services. The Executive has advised that the vast majority of people who wish to detoxify off tablets such as benzodiazepines or similar substances are appropriate to treat in a community setting.

The Department of Health and Children published Benzodiazepine Best Practice Guidelines in 2002. Detoxification in the community can be achieved either by a gradual dose reduction of the drug or by converting to an equivalent dose of diazepam and providing a tapered dose reduction over a period of time, in conjunction with psychosocial support. There are no data on waiting lists for this type of intervention.

Residential detoxification off benzodiazepines is occasionally required in the case of polysubstance misuse where the individual is using tablets in conjunction with other substances. All the tier 4 services can provide a detoxification off heroin and tablets concurrently if the clinical assessment indicates that this is necessary. In instances where the assessment has indicated that tablets alone are the problem it is advised that at least 2 community-based detoxification programmes are attempted before a residential detoxification would be considered.

As part of a comprehensive care plan, an inpatient detoxification can be offered by tier 4 services if clinically appropriate and if the person is engaged in an addiction counselling process with a structured rehabilitation plan in place for the post detoxification phase of their treatment.

A summary of residential detoxification places by service provider follows, along with average waiting times, as of October 2018.

Detoxification beds by type and location

Medical Detoxification Units[1] Location Number of BedsCurrent Average Waiting Time
Cuan Dara - Cherry Orchard Hospital 96 weeks
St. Michaels Ward, Beaumont Hospital 10Male 8–10 weeks
Female 4-6 weeks
Community Based Residential Detoxification Location Number of BedsCurrent Average Waiting Time
Cuan Mhuire, Athy (Drugs) 6Up to 4 weeks (opiates)
Cuan Mhuire ,Farnanes, Co. Cork (Drugs and Alcohol) 87-14 days (opiates & polysubstance),
1-7 days Alcohol
Cuan Mhuire, Bruree, Limerick (6 male Drugs, 21male Alcohol & 3 female drugs/alcohol) 30[2]8 - 12 weeks (opiates & polysubstance),
1-3 days Alcohol
MQI St. Francis Farm, Tullow, Co Carlow 102 weeks[3]
Adolescent Residential Detoxification Location Number of Beds Current Average Waiting Time
Aislinn, Ballyragget, Co. Kilkenny (Drugs and Alcohol) 42 weeks
[1] Note there are an additional 6.5 Stabilisation beds that can be used interchangeably depending on need for detoxification within the Medical Detoxification Units.

[2] In addition, there are 2 emergency beds that are used for observation (medical concern). These additional beds have been used for people in detox.

[3] Data from June 2018


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