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NETWORK A national newsletter on substance misuse management in primary care
SMMGP 10 Years On
Looking - Looking ForwarBack d
In April 1996 in preparation for the
1st conference of Management
of Drug Users in General Practice, SMMGP began
life as a simple word-processed newsletter, enthusiastically written and hastily stuffed into
254 envelopes at Brent and Harrow Health Authority. Our IT skills were so poor, I think we
Issue 1 April 2002
actually wrote out the labels by hand. We were employed to develop local GP training and
A national newsletter on substance misuse management in primary care
Newsletter Re-launch shared care arrangements, but when looking around it seemed like we were not the only
What’s NEW about Network?
• New name and layout
• Easy read format
• Increased clinical content
• Hot topics to keep you abreast of what’s going on
• Paper, article and classic book reviews
• A regular alcohol feature
Network Partnerships
• The National Treatment Agency (NTA) will provide representation on the
SMMGP Project Advisory Group, will act as fund holder and may become staff area that was struggling with GP involvement. The temptation to network and get involved
employer for the project. Line management will be through Don Lavoie as NTA
Commissioning Manager. London based office space will be available to the team
SMMGP Re-launch to conduct joint NTA work. Project staff will support the primary care related work
Network is our new newsletter name and of the NTA.
the new face of the SMMGP project. For • The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) will continue to provide
those who are not tongue twisters by representation on the SMMGP Project Advisory Group and advisory editorial input
nature, most project staff included, it comes from Dr Claire Gerada and Dr Chris Ford. The RCGP will also make available
none too early. Acronyms exhausted, the London based office facilities for project staff carrying our joint work. Project staff
name arises from our other known identity will support the RCGP Certificate programme and other RCGP development work.
as the Primary Care Network and the
function we feel best describes our core • Trafford Healthcare NHS Trust will host the project with project supervision
mission, our way of working and our new provided by Mike Smith, Clinical Manager of Trafford Substance Misuse Services. in sharing, drawing on and furthering good practice around the country proved too great.
partnership arrangements. GP Facilitation will be provided to the project by Dr Chris Ford.
We feel it is a fitting role for the project to bridge the work of GPs,IN THIS ISSUE
other primary care staff working in the field and specialist services
with the national policy and development work of the RCGP andYoung people - Determining consent for
drug treatment to minors 2 the NTA
Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test 3 PRESCRIPTION FP10
A GP’s reflections on the value of long-term
methadone prescribing 4 • Join our free mailing list
A GP’s reflections on the value of
detoxification from opiates 4-5 • Visit our Initially a small group of 6 people met up for a long evening in a north London home with
interactive web siteClassics revisited – The Methadone Briefing 5
and virtual offices
Review of recent papers, articles and
reports – drug related deaths, hepatitis C,
MDMA and neurotoxicity 6 • If you have a clinical question put it on the on-line surgery
Dr Fixit on hepatitis C, and Palliative Care Download our on-line
and Methadone 6-7 • RCGP Certificate materials
Research Bulletin 8
Hot topics - Government plan to reduce drug • Come to the RCGP national conference Managing Drug Users in General
related deaths, UK still tops drugs league 8 Practice, It’s Not Just About Prescribing on the 9th&10th May. Contact beer, red wine and high spirits. This heady mix fuelled an ambitious programme for the fi rst
the RCGP conference organiser on 020 7823 9703 or emailProject contact information 8
• Phone NETWORK on 0161 905 1544
Managing Drug Users in General Practice Conference. At the time we anticipated radically
developing the involvement of GPs towards improving treatment for drug users – it all felt exciting and just possible.
The conference and newsletter emerged as ways of networking with new friends in the fi eld; opportunities for GPs and others
desiring change and improvement in services, treatment and training, to share experiences, hopes and frustrations. As a fi rst
‘group venting’, the conference proved to be a passionate and oversubscribed affair. We had lengthy and heated outpourings
from the conference fl oor, overrunning sessions, a shortage of breakout rooms, even some heckling, and many standing delegates
due to a shortage of seats. Crammed into the main meeting room of the RCGP in London, it had the feel of a movement being
born, and we think it was of sorts. The RCGP had decided to take an unusual or farsighted stance at the time, backing what was
widely perceived as unpopular or controversial work.
The frenzy of activity that culminated in the conference and newsletter in 1996 was a
turning point. From this point on, practitioner momentum for development and change
…continued overleaf
Children who live with parents who are
problem drug users 2- 3
The needs of children The government
Shipman 4 Government Response 4
who live with parents who response to
Global prescribing and harm reduction 5
are problem drug users Shipman 4
Mind your manners – treating
patients well 5

I can’t tell my teacher I was late The government response to
An unrepentant and memorable patient 6
because I was getting my sister the fourth report of the Shipman
History of GP involvement in ready for nursery, as my mam is a enquiry has some important
treatment of drug users 7
‘smack head’ and couldn’t get up

implications for the prescribing
Pharmacy Fix, on instalment
of controlled drugs. We have
prescribing of diazepam,
The most recent and substantial infl uence
interpreted the 10 major
dispensing obligations and crushing
to our awareness of the effects of parental
commitments in the government
buprenorphine 8 drug use on children is a report written
response. Whilst there is to be
Dr Fixit on childcare 9
by the Advisory Council for the Misuse of
greater scrutiny over prescribing,
Drugs, Hidden Harm (2003). The report is
Dr Fixit on hepatitis C 10
a wider range of prescribers will
wide reaching highlighting risk factors, with
be created, along with better
Guidance on hep A & B vaccination 11
recommendations relevant to primary care.
training and seemingly an end to
Paper review, hep C incidence 11
handwriting requirements.
Bulletin board 12
See article pages 2-3 See page 4
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