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Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 21264, tabled on 26 February 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) tackle addiction to and (b) promote the benefits of opioid medications.

Answered on

6 March 2020

NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with the Department and other system partners to oversee implementation of the relevant recommendations of the Public Health England review on dependency-related medicines. The implementation is considering change across data and information technology; enhancing clinical leadership; raising awareness; local support and research.

The immediate focus for implementation will be on reducing opioid prescribing rates. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with partners to share best practice, understand variation in prescribing and develop guidance for appropriate prescribing of opioids to local systems.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is currently developing a guideline on Safe prescribing and withdrawal management of prescribed drugs associated with dependence and withdrawal. It will include supporting guidance for clinicians on how to ensure opioid medications are prescribed safely and appropriately. The project website can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/indevelopment/gid-ng10141