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Managing the heavy drinker in primary care
  • Relevant BNF sections: 4.1.2, 4.10, 9.6.2


Estimates suggest that over 9 million adults in Britain drink alcohol at levels that could endanger their long-term health,1,2 and each year, in England and Wales alone, around 28,000 die prematurely from physical diseases, accidents and suicides related to alcohol use.3,4 The cost to the NHS of treating alcohol-related illness or injury may be as much as £400 million per year,5 and the wider costs to society are very much greater. GPs are well placed to identify patients who drink heavily. In this article, we discuss what part the primary healthcare team can play in the management of heavy drinkers.

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