New alcohol and other drugs resource for GPs

Jolyon Attwooll

2/08/2022 2:44:54 PM

A wide range of clinical guidance is now available in a ‘one-stop shop’ to help general practices care for patients.

Person with bottle of wine and glass
Adopting a ‘health-first’ approach is important when supporting patients using alcohol and other drugs, according to expert Dr Hester Wilson.

A new college resource is now available to help GPs care for patients using alcohol and other drugs (AODs).
The Alcohol and Other Drugs GP Education Resource Library has a range of tools to support general practices.
The wide-ranging resource includes information on the best approach for carrying out routine or opportunistic screening used to identify patients who experience harms from their substance use. 
There is also advice on challenging behaviours and safer prescribing, guidance in dealing with patients who are resistant to help, and clinical details on complex cases.
The library includes a searchable list of over 180 clinical resources as well as details on options for further AOD training.
Information is also included for practice staff to encourage a whole-of-practice approach, including details for supervisors, practice leaders, practice managers and reception staff.
GPs can also take part in a discussion of AOD cases every Thursday night with other colleagues.
Chair of the RACGP’s Specific Interests Addiction Medicine Dr Hester Wilson said the resources were developed as part of the college’s successful Alcohol and Other Drug GP Education Program.

‘The AOD GP Education Program offered something unique to our members,’ she said.

‘They were able to experience paid study leave to invest in their knowledge and skills. Over 2500 members benefited from the program, which is well above the initial target of 1100.

‘After three years the program is wrapping up by the end of the year, but the resource library will live on.’

Dr Wilson said that countless lives could be save by adopting a ‘health-first’ approach to AOD use.

‘Let’s end the stigma, take an evidence-based approach, and do everything possible to help people using alcohol and other drugs,’ she said.

RACGP President Adjunct Professor Karen Price made a similar point, saying the resource will ‘make a real difference.’
‘It’s a one-stop shop where GPs can gain quick access to evidence-based approaches to help patients,’ she said.
‘Declaring a “war on drugs” will get us nowhere as you are effectively declaring war on someone’s loved one, family member or friend.
‘Instead, we need a health-first approach, and this resource library will assist with achieving that, it’s a positive step forward.’
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alcohol and other drugs AOD GP–patient relationship substance use

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