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Question

581. Deputy Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Justice the number of prisoners on anti-anxiety and anti-depressant or mood related medication; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37840/21]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): The Irish Prison Service aim to provide healthcare services to those in custody on an equivalent basis to that which is available to those eligible for General Medical Services in the community, including the use of medication as clinically indicated.
I am advised that all medications prescribed for persons in custody are used in line with best practice guidelines, as issued by the Prison Service drugs and therapeutics committee in line with HSE/National Guidance.
As of 8th July, a total of 13 people in custody (0.34% of the prison population) were prescribed medication whose main indication is for the treatment of anxiety.
Some of the medicines in this group may be prescribed for indications other than anxiety, for example, as part of an alcohol withdrawal programme or for other indications such as epilepsy or muscle spasm.
A total of 562 people in custody (14.7% of the prison population) were prescribed medication whose main indication is for the treatment of depression. Some of those medications may also be prescribed for other licensed indications such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
There are 234 people in custody (6.15%) prescribed medications with a licensed indication for the treatment of both depression and anxiety.
However the Deputy will wish to note that in the absence of specific diagnosis for each of these 809 people, it is not possible to definitively give a number for those prisoners prescribed medication solely for depression or anxiety.