15.3 Drug and Alcohol Problems

This section of our curriculum guide refers to statement 15.3, Drug and Alcohol Problems, produced by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

The use of illicit drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, is common. All GPs have a responsibility for providing general medical care to drug-using adults. GPs are ideally placed to identify drug misuse before it becomes problematic and to be able to intervene effectively. 

Drug use is amenable to treatment, using a combination of psychological, social and medical interventions. Substitution treatment, such as the use of methadone, is effective and when properly administered results in improvements in social, medical and psychological functioning, and a reduction in criminal behaviour. 

GPs must be familiar with ways of identifying excess alcohol consumption and aware of the morbidity (physical, psychological and social) caused by alcohol.

Page Title RSS feed

Latest articles

Case study: Asthma exacerbation with heroin use

The case of an asthma death associated with heroin use.

Alcohol misuse: clinical review

The morbidity caused by excessive alcohol consumption, effective screening tools,...

Substance misuse: Cocaine use and its effects

An overview of cocaine misuse and its treatment.

Substance misuse: benzodiazepines

Practices need a clear policy for prescribing drugs with abuse potential.

Smoking: two thirds of smokers could die early

Two in three smokers will die as a result of their habit, reveals research

As many as two thirds of deaths in smokers 'can be attributed to smoking', the researchers...

Alcohol: NICE guidance overhauled (Photo: JH Lancy)

GPs can prescribe anti-alcohol drug for first time, says NICE

GPs should prescribe the drug nalmefene to help high-risk drinkers reduce their alcohol...

Alcohol: GPs urged to look out for heavy drinkers (Photo: JH Lancy)

Prioritise opportunistic screening of patients for heavy drinking, GPs told

GPs should screen patients for risky alcohol behaviour at every opportunity as a...

Just two questions can pick up most cases of alcoholism (Photo: PR Week)

Test helps GPs quickly spot patients with hidden drinking problems

A simple two-question test could help GPs identify patients with alcohol problems...

Consultation: GPs need support to help children at risk of domestic violence (photo: iStock)

GPs need support to tackle domestic violence, say researchers

GPs need support to protect children from exposure to domestic abuse and improving...

Solvents can be poured into a handkerchief or bag and then inhaled (Photograph: SPL)

Volatile substance abuse

The misuse of volatile substances can go unnoticed by health professionals, writes...

Use is highest in ages 16-24

Substance misuse - The impact of using cannabis

Opinion is divided over whether this commonly used drug causes harm. Dr George Ryan...

Dependent drinkers tend to feel an uncomfortable urge to drink

The basics - Alcohol abuse

Problem drinking is increasing and early detection is vital for successful intervention,...

Follow Us: