Published: 20/03/2003, Volume II3, No. 5847 Page 10

The National Treatment Agency is calling for better and more consistent availability of methadone treatment across England.A briefing paper by the NTA's experts prescribing group published last week concluded that available evidence suggests that oral methadone is prescribed most successfully and should be available across the country.The experts also said the drug should be available in higher doses, offering a better chance of retaining patients in treatment and optimising outcomes.The briefing emphasised that prescribing is only one part of the treatment package which should also include safe, flexible systems of assessment of appropriate dose, speedy access to treatment in line with NTA targets and a supervised daily dispensing regime for the initial stages of treatment in difficult cases.