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.

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