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Hamid Ghodse

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 19 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1069
  1. Anne Gulland, London
  1. annecgulland{at}

Psychiatrist who helped shape policies on substance misuse and addiction worldwide

The implementation of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1967 proved to be an important moment in the career of Hamid Ghodse. The act, a response to concern over increasing numbers of drug users, led to the opening of drug dependency units, of which one of the first was at Hackney Hospital. Ghodse, who was doing a psychiatric rotation at the hospital, took a job at the unit and from here grew his lifelong interest in addiction.

From Hackney he moved to the Maudsley Hospital in south London and then the Institute of Psychiatry, where he conducted epidemiological research, including a study of London casualty units to find out how many attendances were related to drug use. Ghodse was shocked to discover that 80 units in Greater London fielded 2000 drug related attendances a month, of which half were centred on a cluster of five central London hospitals.1

The study’s methods were adopted by the World Health Organization, and the results alerted the UK government to the impact that drug dependency was having on the capital’s hospitals. …

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