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3 14 Care of People who Misuse Drugs and Alcohol

Summary

  • People with drug and alcohol problems are often stigmatised by society and professionals
  • Drug and alcohol misuse are common problems in the community and need to be treated with compassion
  • As a general practitioner (GP) you are ideally placed to identify people with drug or alcohol problems and need to be aware of the extent and consequences of these problems
  • All general practitioners have a responsibility for providing general medical care to people registered with them who have drug or alcohol problems
  • Primary care-based interventions for drug and alcohol problems can be very effective in reducing physical, psychological and social harm, for both the patient and the community
  • Helping people with drug and alcohol problems can be very rewarding for the doctor and life changing for the patient

Knowledge and skills guide

This section contains the learning outcomes for the 'Care of People who Misuse Drugs and Alcohol' curriculum module.

These are grouped into 12 core areas of competence concerned with the tasks you will undertake as a general practitioner when delivering care to people in your community.

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Case discussion

This section contains a scenario and questions for reflection which help to illustrate the learning points in this module.


Julie is a 25-year-old single mother who lives with her two children, aged four and two years. She comes to see you complaining of fatigue. You notice that she is underweight and appears pale and stressed; she has noticeable needle marks on her forearms. On further enquiry, she admits to using heroin and crack cocaine; she feels she is now addicted to both...     

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How to learn this area of practice

This section includes suggested activities and strategies for developing the competences you will require.     

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Useful learning resources

This section provides suggestions for further reading and other resources to help you in your training, including books, journal articles and web resources.     

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