Substance-misusing patients in primary care: incidence, services provided and problems. A survey of general practitioners in Wiltshire

W Mistral, R Velleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This research aimed to discover the monthly incidence of patients misusing illicit drugs or alcohol seen by general practitioners; services provided; difficulties encountered; and general practitioner willingness. The total population of general practitioners (n = 210) in the Health Commission for Wiltshire was sent a postal questionnaire: 49% responded (n = 103), and 10% of respondents were interviewed. The number of alcohol-misusing patients seen per month was much higher than illicit drug-misusing patients: 46% of respondents saw fewer than one patient for prescribed opiates, and 71% saw fewer than one solvent misuser, per month; in contrast, only 7% of respondents saw fewer than one alcohol-misusing patient per month. Ninety-two per cent of general practitioners provided general medical services for alcohol misusers, and 86% for illicit drug misusers. Fifty-four per cent of respondents provided substitute medication for illicit drugs, while 42% provided detoxification medication for illicit drugs. Sixty-five per cent provided medication for alcohol detoxification. Difficulties encountered included missed appointments, time-wasting, aggressive behaviour, communication difficulties and upset to other patients. Twelve per cent of general practitioners were willing to provide more services for illicit drug users, compared with 27% for alcohol users. The greater unwillingness to work with illicit drug users appeared disproportionate to the number previously encountered Interventions to improve the situation for general practitioners and substance-misusing patients are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-72
Number of pages12
JournalDrugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
Volume8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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Street Drugs
general practitioner
General Practitioners
Primary Health Care
incidence
drug
alcohol
Alcohols
Incidence
medication
Drug Users
Opiate Alkaloids
medical services
aggressive behavior
Surveys and Questionnaires
Appointments and Schedules
Communication
questionnaire
communication
Health

Cite this

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title = "Substance-misusing patients in primary care: incidence, services provided and problems. A survey of general practitioners in Wiltshire",
abstract = "This research aimed to discover the monthly incidence of patients misusing illicit drugs or alcohol seen by general practitioners; services provided; difficulties encountered; and general practitioner willingness. The total population of general practitioners (n = 210) in the Health Commission for Wiltshire was sent a postal questionnaire: 49{\%} responded (n = 103), and 10{\%} of respondents were interviewed. The number of alcohol-misusing patients seen per month was much higher than illicit drug-misusing patients: 46{\%} of respondents saw fewer than one patient for prescribed opiates, and 71{\%} saw fewer than one solvent misuser, per month; in contrast, only 7{\%} of respondents saw fewer than one alcohol-misusing patient per month. Ninety-two per cent of general practitioners provided general medical services for alcohol misusers, and 86{\%} for illicit drug misusers. Fifty-four per cent of respondents provided substitute medication for illicit drugs, while 42{\%} provided detoxification medication for illicit drugs. Sixty-five per cent provided medication for alcohol detoxification. Difficulties encountered included missed appointments, time-wasting, aggressive behaviour, communication difficulties and upset to other patients. Twelve per cent of general practitioners were willing to provide more services for illicit drug users, compared with 27{\%} for alcohol users. The greater unwillingness to work with illicit drug users appeared disproportionate to the number previously encountered Interventions to improve the situation for general practitioners and substance-misusing patients are discussed.",
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AB - This research aimed to discover the monthly incidence of patients misusing illicit drugs or alcohol seen by general practitioners; services provided; difficulties encountered; and general practitioner willingness. The total population of general practitioners (n = 210) in the Health Commission for Wiltshire was sent a postal questionnaire: 49% responded (n = 103), and 10% of respondents were interviewed. The number of alcohol-misusing patients seen per month was much higher than illicit drug-misusing patients: 46% of respondents saw fewer than one patient for prescribed opiates, and 71% saw fewer than one solvent misuser, per month; in contrast, only 7% of respondents saw fewer than one alcohol-misusing patient per month. Ninety-two per cent of general practitioners provided general medical services for alcohol misusers, and 86% for illicit drug misusers. Fifty-four per cent of respondents provided substitute medication for illicit drugs, while 42% provided detoxification medication for illicit drugs. Sixty-five per cent provided medication for alcohol detoxification. Difficulties encountered included missed appointments, time-wasting, aggressive behaviour, communication difficulties and upset to other patients. Twelve per cent of general practitioners were willing to provide more services for illicit drug users, compared with 27% for alcohol users. The greater unwillingness to work with illicit drug users appeared disproportionate to the number previously encountered Interventions to improve the situation for general practitioners and substance-misusing patients are discussed.

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