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Helping patients who misuse drugs

Abstract

The number of people with problems related to drug misuse has risen since we last discussed this topic 12 years ago.1 New drugs such as 'crack' (the smokeable form of cocaine) and ecstasy have appeared, while the abuse of diamorphine (heroin), amphetamines and benzodiazepines has become more widespread. By sharing needles and syringes, those injecting drugs are at risk of infection with hepatitis B, hepatitis C and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Here we discuss the drugs that are commonly misused and the priorities in management. We consider the potential role of GPs and the primary care team in that management.

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