Monday 18 June 2018

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‘It’s a fear of the unknown’

Wednesday, 10th January, 2018 5:10pm

Residents are seeking clarification in relation to pharmacies providing methadone services, a Cork city councillor has revealed.

Fine Gael’s Joe Kavanagh, based in the Cork City North East area, raised the issue during a Cork City Council meeting on Monday. Cllr Kavanagh asked whether it was necessary as part of the planning process for pharmacies to declare services such as provision of methadone clinics.

Cllr Kavanagh said the question was in response to the issue being raised by some northside-based residents on several occasions over the last few months.

Mr Kavanagh said he was “satisfied to an extent” with the response given by Patrick Ledwidge, Director of Services at the Strategic Planning and Economic Development Department of the Council who said that, whether or not a pharmacy would have to specifically refer to services such as a methadone clinic depended on the "scale and nature" of the service provided, and that guidance could be obtained by the Pharmacies Regulator.

Cllr Kavanagh said fears in communities around methadone clinics were normal: “You’re talking about poor, unfortunate people with drug addictions coming to the service, who may not be from the community,” he said.

The Fine Gael councillor said he felt the issue was very much down to a lack of experience of methadone services and that local community members could easily have their fears allayed with more information on the issue.

“All I want is a bit of clarification, some transparency, as to what goes on,” he said. “It’s a fear of the unknown which could easily be remedied through knowing more about the process.”

Cllr Kavanagh finished by saying that he was satisfied that questions related to methadone clinics could be directed towards the pharmacy owner and the HSE in future.

Mr Ledwidge reiterated to the Cork Independent that such issues were dealt with on a case by case basis and that, as Cllr Kavanagh had not referred to a particular case, he could not be more specific. He confirmed that provision of methadone clinics by pharmacies was a matter dealt with through legislation and the HSE.

A representative for the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), the Pharmacies Regulator, said:

“The PSI does not have a role in relation to a pharmacy’s permission to dispense methadone, or matters relating to the planning application process. However, pharmacies registering with the PSI are requested to declare to us in their application (and update accordingly) the range of services that they provide, including whether they provide a methadone treatment service.”

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