Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Findings of a national survey of the role of general practitioners in the treatment of opiate misuse: dealing with the opiate misuser.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: (Published 23 August 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:486
  1. A Glanz


    Because there has been a substantial increase in the scale of drug misuse general practitioners have become increasingly concerned in responding to this problem. Little is known, however, about how general practitioners manage drug misusers. The findings from a national survey carried out in mid-1985 of a 5% random sample of general practitioners in England and Wales show the extent to which various actions were undertaken by general practitioners who reported on the consultation with the opiate misuser whom they last attended. In more than half of the cases the opiate misuser had been under the care of the general practitioners for this problem for at least six months. The findings indicate that most general practitioners refer these patients to specialist drug dependence clinics or to general psychiatric services but rarely to other agencies. Opiate drugs had been prescribed in nearly a third of cases. The rate of notification to the Home Office conforms with that in other studies and indicates a high degree of undernotification. More detailed study of general practitioners' activities in managing drug misusers is needed.