Research Article

Findings of a national survey of the role of general practitioners in the treatment of opiate misuse: views on treatment.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.293.6546.543 (Published 30 August 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:543
  1. A Glanz

    Abstract

    An important component of government policy on services for drug misusers is to encourage general practitioners to take a more active role. There are, however, some indications that general practitioners regard drug misusers as undesirable patients, although no evidence is available. As part of a wider investigation of the role of general practitioners in the treatment of opiate misuse, a questionnaire, which was sent in mid-1985 to a 5% random sample of general practitioners in England and Wales, included a section designed to elicit their views on policy and treatment connected with opiate misuse. The results showed that although most general practitioners consider opiate misuse to be a priority concern for the Health Service, they also generally regard opiate misusers as especially difficult to manage, beyond their competence to treat, and less acceptable as patients than others in need of care. General practitioners who have qualified recently were somewhat less unfavourable in their views. These findings suggest that the effective implementation of government policy will require trying to modify general practitioners' attitudes and providing support for them.