Research Article

Problem drug use in a central London general practice.

BMJ 1992; 304 doi: (Published 02 May 1992) Cite this as: BMJ 1992;304:1158
  1. J. Cohen,
  2. A. Schamroth,
  3. I. Nazareth,
  4. M. Johnson,
  5. S. Graham,
  6. D. Thomson
  1. Department of Primary Health Care, University College and Middlesex School of Medicine, Whittington Hospital, London.


    OBJECTIVE--To describe the profile of problem drug users presenting in general practice and to determine whether they can be cared for in general practice. DESIGN--Study of consultations by problem drug users. SETTING--Central London general practice. SUBJECTS--150 problem drug users presenting over two years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Stopping drug use, alterations in lifestyle, obtaining paid work, and stopping drug related crime. RESULTS--Of the 150 patients, 111 were men and 39 women, and 106 were unemployed. 121 patients used heroin, 112 of whom injected. 145 patients accepted a methadone reduction programme and 81 completed it. A further 25 were stabilised on reducing doses of methadone, until places became available for them as inpatients at drug dependency units or rehabilitation projects. CONCLUSION--Withdrawal programmes for patients who misuse drugs can be successfully managed in general practice.