Risks from forced detoxification from heroin are being ignored, conference hears

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 23 September 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6116
  1. Mark Hunter
  1. 1Manchester

Changes of policy on provision of services to drug users risk forcing thousands of people into detoxification and abstinence programmes before they are ready, a primary care specialist in drug misuse has warned. The potential consequences could be fatal.

Steve Brinksman, a GP from Birmingham and clinical lead of the support network on substance misuse management in general practice, told a meeting in Manchester that the recent shift in emphasis away from harm reduction and stabilisation towards a more recovery based approach should not be allowed to go too far.

“Detoxification is not a cure for anything,” he said. “It is a small step in the process, and if you do not do the preparation beforehand or the aftercare afterwards you are …

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