Street drugs

August 2010

FocusStreet drugs

Drug abuse

Volume 39, No.8, August 2010 Pages 539-539

Janice Charles

Helena Britt

Salma Fahridin

Between April 2007 and March 2009 in the BEACH (Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health) program, drug abuse was managed 770 times, at a rate of 0.4 per 100 encounters, suggesting it is managed by general practitioners about 436 000 times per year nationally. This article focuses on illicit drugs such as heroin and marijuana, and includes substances such as glue. Alcohol, tobacco and medicines are not included.

On 85% of occasions where drug abuse was managed, the general practitioners did not specify the drug involved. When details of the drug were given, heroin was most commonly specified, accounting for 8.0%, followed by marijuana, at 5.6% of drug abuse problems managed. Males accounted for 60% of contacts, confirming that drug abuse was significantly more likely in males. Patients were also more likely to be in the younger age groups, with the highest management rate (1.9 per 100 encounters) recorded for men aged 25–44 years. The highest rate for women (0.6 per 100 encounters with women aged 25–44 years) was significantly lower.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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