Ignore stereotypes and offer OST, GPs told

The discussion comes amid wider debate on the issue and a department of health commissioned review of national opioid substitution therapy (OST) policy due to be completed mid-year.

Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League executive officer Annie Madden said most narcotic dependent patients just wanted to “get in and get out and get on with their lives”.

“I think general practice already has good models for dealing with [such complex cases], and GPs should have more faith in their skills and abilities to treat these patients,” she said.

But University of NSW professor of general practice Nick Zwar said GPs needed greater support to manage the more chaotic patients who were in the early stages of treatment.

“The administrative work involved in treating narcotic dependent patients can also be onerous and would justify a practice or service incentive payment,” Professor Zwar said.