Recent Government policy has encouraged initiatives aimed at preventing the spread of drug misuse and improving treatment for those who already suffer the effects of dependence. There are probably up to 100,000 opiate addicts in the UK and dependence on prescribed drugs such as benzodiazepines presents a problem of increasing medico-legal significance. All doctors have a responsibility to ensure that drug misusers are offered treatment and should be prepared to assist them with withdrawal from drugs if requested to do so. Many doctors still fight shy of becoming involved, often through fear of contravening the controlling legislation.
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