§ Mr. Paul Marsden
To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the practice of automatic detoxification of patients stabilised in the community on substitute prescriptions has been discontinued. 
§ Ms Blears
The Department of Health has never endorsed a policy of automatic detoxification of heroin misusers. Therefore, it would be inaccurate to say that the policy of automatic detoxification of patients stabilised in the community on substitute prescriptions has been discontinued. The Department's view is set out in its "Drug Misuse and Dependence—Guidelines on Clinical Management (1999)", which statesIt is important to tailor the treatment needs to those of the individual needs of the presenting patient, especially where substitute treatment for dependence is concerned.A dose reduction intervention should be shaped by a realistic appraisal of jointly agreed treatment goals and outcomes between the patient, the doctor and other members involved in the patient's care.Treatment aims and goals should be adjusted accordingly depending on the patients progress.Methadone maintenance treatment, incorporating psychosocial interventions, can enable patients to achieve stability, reduce their drug misuse and criminal activity, and improve health. For these reasons such treatment should form an important part of drug misuse services.There is now a choice of substances available for use in opiate maintenance prescribing. There is a need to monitor research progress in this field and to adjust future treatments in the light of new treatment evaluations.