Background Opioid substitution therapy (OST) is the
most commonly provided treatment
for heroin dependence in Australia
and has been shown to be effective.
Access to OST outside of specialised
public clinics and prisons relies on the
participation of general practitioners.
In Australia there is a shortage of GPs
available to prescribe OST, which results
in an unmet need for OST services.
Studies have reported barriers to GP
involvement in drug and alcohol work
and there is little research looking at
the perceptions and experiences of GPs
involved in prescribing OST.
Discussion This study has limited generalisability
due to the small sample size but it does
highlight some insights that can be
gained from talking to experienced OST
Results All participants described similar
positive and negative aspects
associated with prescribing OST. Some
participants commenced prescribing
in such a manner as to limit the scope
of their involvement. Ceasing OST
prescribing was not necessarily linked
to negative experiences. Exprescribers
indicated that they were unlikely to
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