Safe storage of methadone in the home. An Irish audit of the effectiveness of information provision in pharmacies

John Aidan Horan, Martina Gooney, Marie Claire Van Hout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Safe storage of oral methadone at home is an important issue given the risk of accidental paediatric consumption. Pharmacy protocols centre on provision of information to patients relating to general and paediatric dangers of methadone and safe storage of methadone in the home. Aim: The study aimed to audit the effectiveness of pharmacy provision of information on safety of methadone consumption and storage in the home. Methods: The study involved an audit of five criteria relating to patient awareness of general dangers of methadone use and paediatric risks, patient information recall on safe storage of methadone in the home; take home methadone dispensing in child resistant containers and safe and secured storage of methadone. Audit information was collected using a survey with consecutive adult patients attending a specialist methadone clinic over the course of four weeks (n=94), and telephone interviews with dispensing pharmacists recorded in the specialist clinic register (n=43). Results: None of the criteria reached a 100% standard. 51% reported never being provided with safety information. 97% of patients were aware of the dangers of methadone use, with females significantly more aware of dangers of methadone to users. 86% did not place their take-home methadone in a locked place. 90% reported they would seek medical help if a child had accidentally consumed methadone. 58% of pharmacists never questioned patients around storage, but 58% reported counselling patients on safe storage. Conclusions: Safe storage of methadone warrants regular and proactive pharmacy provision of information around harms associated with methadone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalHeroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Accidental consumption
  • Methadone
  • Paediatric overdose


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