Medical bodies unite to combat addiction to medicines

November 2016

General Practitioners

Country of origin: UK

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) have published a signed consensus statement aimed at reducing patient addiction to medicines such as tranquilisers and painkillers.

Supported by professional groups, specialist service providers and voluntary bodies representing 17 organisations, it cautions against long-term prescribing of medicines which carry a risk of addiction, except in exceptional circumstances, and recommends rigorous and holistic regular reviews by practitioners with suitable expertise and understanding.

The statement calls on health and social care professionals across the statutory and voluntary sectors, in partnership with service users, to work together to reduce the risk of patient addiction to medicines and to support those who are dependent.

The statement acknowledges the issues and challenges faced by some patients who have dependency to prescribed or over the counter medications. It highlights the extreme caution that must be taken when reducing and stopping any medication to avoid serious risks of withdrawal and the need to enlist specialist help and advice to manage the physical and psychological aspects of the conditions these patients experience.

The Consensus Statement is available online.

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