Now, General Practitioners (GPs) in Australia have access to a brand new resource to help them care for patients who are using alcohol and other drugs.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has launched the Alcohol and Other Drugs GP Education Resource Library.
This resource was developed as part of the RACGP Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) GP Education Program which ran from 2020 to 2022 and is coming to an end. But the resource library will remain open to guide GPs from here on out.
In total, the resource includes over 180 clinical resources. There are also further options for AOD training.
The wide-ranging set of resources includes the following:
- Information on the best approach for carrying out routine or opportunistic screening that is used to identify patients who experience harm from their substance use.
- Advice on challenging behaviors and safer prescribing.
- Guidance in dealing with patients who are resistant to help.
- Clinical details on complex cases.
- Case scenarios.
- Handouts to give patients.
GPs are welcome to join discussions with other colleagues every Thursday regarding AOD cases.
The resource has specific material for those who have their own practice on how to create a whole-of-practice approach for AOD treatment. This includes information for supervisors, practice leaders, practice managers, and reception staff.
Let’s end the stigma, take an evidence-based approach, and do everything possible to help people using alcohol and other drugs,” said Dr. Hester Wilson Chair of the RACGP’s Specific Interests Addiction Medicine, as per news GP.Dr. Hester Wilson, Chair, RACGP’s Specific Interests Addiction Medicine
RACGP President Adjunct Professor Karen Price echoed Dr. Wilson’s thoughts.
Declaring a “war on drugs” will get us nowhere,” said Professor Karen Price, RACGP President Adjunct, as per News GP.
Instead, we need a health-first approach, and this resource library will assist with achieving that, it’s a positive step forward.’Professor Karen Price, RACGP President
The RACGP Alcohol and Other Drugs GP Education Program
The AOD resource library was born out of the AOD GP Education Program. The Australian government funded the program which started in 2020 and is ending in 2022.
The program was developed by GPs for GPs as a skills-based education program based on a whole person-centered care approach. This approach draws on a GPs existing skills and experience in chronic disease management to apply them to the care of AOD patients considering each patient’s physical, psychological, and social health factors.
The program structure includes five main training pathways:
- Essential Skills,
- Treatment Skills,
- Advanced Skills Training,
- AOD Connect: Project ECHO is an AOD case discussion forum where you can connect with colleagues, practice your skills, discuss cases, and seek support from your peers and AOD experts, via an online community-of-practice format, and
- Higher Risk Groups training around common factors that may lead to increased risk of harm associated with a patient’s substance use.
High demand for alcohol and other drugs support in Australia
Better guidance for GPs on how to address and tackle patients who use alcohol and other drugs is much needed in Australia. As Movendi International previously reported the products and practices of the alcohol industry drove a rise in alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. This has led more Australians to develop alcohol use problems. As a result, there is a high demand for alcohol and other drug support services.
As per a report by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE):
- Australians made over 25,000 calls to the National Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Hotline – triple the numbers seen pre-pandemic in 2019.
- Many of these people are calling due to an alcohol problem.
- Alcohol use accounts for a third of all AOD treatment in Australia.
In this context, the new RACGP resource for GPs will play an important role in equipping GPs to provide more and better support for people with alcohol and other drug use problems in the primary care setting.
News GP: “New alcohol and other drugs resource for GPs“
RACGP: “Alcohol & Other Drugs: GP Education Resource Library“