Ministry says Corradino prison prescription drug abuse claims ‘not factual, misleading’

Ministry insists that treatment and medication prescribed by medical authorities is carried out with the patient’s consent.

Inmates at Corradino Correctional Facility have an in-house medical service that is available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
Inmates at Corradino Correctional Facility have an in-house medical service that is available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

The home affairs ministry has countered reports appearing in The Times, of claims by a man serving time for marijuana-related offences that the prison system was "rife with prescription medicine use, with inmates given medication morning, afternoon and evening".

In a statement, the ministry said the reports were "factually inaccurate and misleading."

According to the claims by inmate Daniel Holmes, 34 - who was given a 10-and-a-half year sentence last November after being charged with cannabis possession, cultivation and trafficking - inmates at Corradino Correctional Facility were "popping pills like there's no tomorrow... Antidepressants, tranquilisers, Valium and all that... many of them don't even know what they're taking. They just swill and down them."

Holmes specifically referred to an eight-day sojourn at the CCF in 2006 where he was cut off his prescription drugs during his drug rehab programme.

The ministry said inmates at Corradino Correctional Facility had an in-house medical service that is available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week in order to see to the disparate medical exigencies of the whole CCF population.

"All medical treatment dispensed by in-house doctors is similar to that applied to patients in the wider community by medical GPs at large. Indeed, the conditions treated inside the CCF reflect those normally prevalent among the general population and range from hypertension and diabetes to depression and heart disease."

Holmes specifically referred to an eight-day sojourn at the CCF in 2006 where he was cut off his prescription drugs during his drug rehab programme.

The ministry said all inmates receive free treatment, but that any drugs not provided under the Schedule V list had to be purchased. Holmes said he was cut off prescriptions of tranquiliser Valium and antidepressant Paxetin after he could not get hold of a Schedule V (yellow) card for free medication.

The ministry added that residents on treatment are regularly monitored by the same medical authorities and the treatment is modified or withdrawn accordingly.

"Medication is dispensed and administered as prescribed and according to indications. So, while medication at CCF is dispensed three times a day, this by no means implies that all inmates on medication require treatment three times a day. "Furthermore, treatment and medication prescribed by medical authorities is carried out with the patient's consent. Having said this, it is also not uncommon for patients to refuse treatment against medical advice."

The ministry chose not to comment on Holmes's specific case, saying CCF authorities are bound by the Consent and Confidentiality Clause signed by Holmes himself not to disclose any information pertaining to his medical file.

The clause does not preclude the Prison Board of Visitors from accessing his file to ascertain or otherwise the claims put forward by Holmes with regard to his treatment.

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Yea....... right Minister Bonnici you are 100% right.
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The whole government and the institutions are in self-denial.
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"Isma' bilfors, emmen jekk trid."
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Luke Camilleri
The Ministry, The home affairs ministry , isn't there a Minister somewhere , anywhere, a name to shoulder the responsability for a Ministry that is responsabile for the Maltese Citizen and his safety, both in and out? Just "WHO" is the Ministry? Where is "HE"? Napping again?
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minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici continues to be in denial whatever is revealed happening in our "correctional facility " (Sic !) at Corradino ! No wonder he refuses to set a date when the motion on the ministries of justice and home affairs, presented by the opposition, is to be debated. He and Dr. Gonzi fear that Franco Debono might vote in favour of the PL's motion this time, and not just abstain !