Personal Views

Drug misuse: GPs' pivotal role

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 06 September 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:613
  1. Robert Scott, clinical director
  1. Glasgow

    At a recent postgraduate meeting for psychiatrists I had to propose the motion, “The management of drug addiction should not be within the remit of the psychiatrist.” After some reflection, I decided that there were three reasons why this was so.

    The first is that most people with drug problems are not mad. The second is that psychiatrists have neither the knowledge, the skills, nor the appropriate attitudes to manage drug misusers. And the third reason is that general practitioners are far better at doing it.

    In the spectrum of substance use, starting with experimentation, passing through recreation, and then on to dependence, problems may appear at any time. “It seems improbable, however, that gross mental illness is …

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