Intended for healthcare professionals


Managing drug misuse in general practice

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 04 December 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1497

Republic of Ireland has set up scheme to regulate methadone prescribing by GPs

  1. Eamon Keenan, consultant psychiatrist in substance misuse,
  2. Joe Barry, specialist in public health medicine
  1. AIDS/Drugs Service, Cherry Orchard Hospital, Dublin 10, Republic of Ireland
  2. AIDS/Drugs Service, Eastern Health Board, Baggott Street Hospital, Dublin 4, Republic of Ireland
  3. Department of Public Health, Medical School, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD
  4. Department of General Practice and Primary Care, Foresterhill Health Centre, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2AY

    EDITOR—The Republic of Ireland has adopted a similar approach to drug misuse to that discussed in Keen's editorial.1 General practitioners are encouraged to become involved in the treatment of drug misusers by legislation introduced in October 1998 to regulate the prescribing and dispensing of methadone.2

    Providing methadone maintenance in general practice has led to encouraging reductions in the use of illicit drugs,3 but concerns have been expressed about the problems of double prescribing and the availability of methadone on the black market Despite the existence of a central methadone treatment list in Ireland since 1993, doctors were not legally obliged to register patients. An added problem was that the presence of large numbers of drug users attending individual private general practitioners or pharmacies had contributed to considerable local …

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