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[Irish Medical Times] , Mudiwa, Lloyd Drug specialist alleges inaction on drug abuse. (04 May 2012)

External website: http://www.imt.ie/news/latest-news/2012/05/drug-sp...

A leading drug specialist has called for the urgent expansion of GP methadone treatment services in order to tackle unnecessary drug deaths, labelling “our deadly indifference” a national scandal.

“Unnecessary deaths are taking place because of our collective indifference”, Dr Austin O’Carroll said as successive Ministers for Health, the ICGP, Medical Council, the media, society at large and in particular the medical profession all came under attack.

The Dublin inner-city GP said: “Doctors’ fear of drug users is rooted in their lack of experience with this group, and this actually adds to the stigmatising of this vulnerable group, which is badly in need of medical attention.

“Successive Ministers for Health have failed to make it mandatory for GPs to provide methadone treatment as part of their practice. Meanwhile, the ICGP has not made it mandatory for GP trainers to provide their trainees who have done the Level 1 methadone prescribing course the opportunity to treat patients with methadone in their training practices,” charged Dr O’Carroll, who was writing in Forum, the journal of the College.

He further alleged: “The Irish Medical Council, in maintaining a Vatican silence on the widespread exclusion of their vulnerable population from doctors’ surgeries, has forsaken its duty to describe as unethical the behaviour of GPs who exclude drug users and homeless people.” This was in contrast to the UK General Medical Council, Dr O’Carroll claimed. In response, the Medical Council told Irish Medical Times that its position was outlined in the Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners.


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