Alcohol and drug abuse not restricted to the young, says RCGP

Publication date: 07 March 2018

Responding to the Royal College of Psychiatrists' report 'Our Invisible Addicts', Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "GPs are not killjoys but safe drinking limits are set for good reason and we would encourage everyone to try to stick to limiting their intake to a maximum of 14 units a week, with at least two alcohol-free days every week.

"Substance misuse is a very concerning issue for the whole population – it is not the preserve of young people - and GPs understand that addiction to any substance can have serious, negative consequences on our patients' health and wellbeing.

"GPs will look at the physical, psychological and social factors potentially impacting on the health of the patient in front of us – and as part of this we will ask our patients questions about their alcohol intake, smoking and any drug use so that we can determine the most appropriate and effective treatment for them.

"It is alarming to see a doubling in deaths related to poisoning from substances in older people and highlights the very real dangers of alcohol and drug misuse.

"While alcohol is safe in moderation, it is also important to be aware of your alcohol habits at home, in private - as it can be more difficult to keep track of exactly how many units you're having when they are not being measured out in standard sizes - and if you notice it's becoming a problem, you should be honest with yourself and seek help to limit your alcohol intake."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 765

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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