General practitioners are ideally placed to address drug and alcohol problems in the Australian population. Lack of adequate undergraduate and postgraduate training has been suggested as a key barrier limiting their involvement in addiction medicine.
This article describes the establishment and operations of an advanced rural skills training program at the Lyndon Community – a rural drug and alcohol treatment organisation in New South Wales.
An addiction medicine rotation offers general practice registrars the opportunity to develop skills and experience in psychosocial interventions as well as physical and mental health issues common in the treatment population. Registrars participating in the Lyndon Community program perceived that the training period had influenced and enhanced their future practice.
Alcohol and drug use is widespread in the Australian community. Alcohol in particular is a key factor affecting the health of Australians1 and a major contributor to preventable disease, illness, death and social harms which cost in excess of $15 billion per year.2 Alcohol is associated with serious long term health effects, disease, hospitalisations, accidents, violence, homicides and suicides.3 Importantly, the co-occurrence of drug and alcohol and mental health problems, particularly depression and anxiety, is under-recognised and undertreated in Australia.4
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