Reference 2017-15

REF:            2017-15

Subject:        Heroin and cocaine prescriptions on the NHS




Under the FOI Act, can you please tell me how many times your trust has prescribed either heroin/diamorphine and/or cocaine to patients in the 2015 and 2016 calendar years.




In 2015 we supplied Cocaine 74 times and Diamorphine 489 times. In 2016 we supplied Cocaine 80 times and Diamorphine 521. As we issue these drugs as stock rather than directly to patients we are unable to provide the number of prescriptions.

These medicines are used for a number of therapeutic reasons.  In the case of diamorphine this is mostly for the management of pain in patients unable to take oral analgesia either as a result of disease progression and resulting levels of consciousness or the disease precludes the use of the oral route such as in refractory vomiting.  Cocaine is primarily used in ophthalmology.  These treatments are used in line with clear guidance.