• Optimising treatment in opioid dependency in primary care: results from a national key stakeholder and expert focus group in Ireland.

      Van Hout, Maire Claire; Crowley, Des; McBride, Aoife; Delargy, Ide (BMC family practice, 2018-06-30)
      Treatment for opioid dependence in Ireland is provided predominantly by general practitioners (GP) who have undergone additional training in opioid agonist treatment (OAT) and substance misuse. The National Methadone Treatment Programme (MTP) was introduced in 1998, and was designed to treat the opioid dependent population and to regulate the prescribing regimes at the time. The past two decades have seen the increased prescribing of methadone in primary care and changes in type of opioid abused, in particular, the increased use of over the counter (OTC) and prescription medications. Despite the scaling up of OAT in Ireland, drug related deaths however have increased and waiting lists for treatment exist in some areas outside the capital, Dublin. Two previous MTP reviews have made recommendations aimed at improving and scaling up of OAT in Ireland. This study updates these recommendations and is the first time that a group of national experts have engaged in structured research to identify barriers to OAT delivery in Ireland. The aim was to explore the views of national statutory and non-statutory stakeholders and experts on current barriers within the MTP and broader OAT delivery structures in order to inform their future design and implementation.