Your GP & Drug Use

DOCTOR ELEPHANT What happens if I tell my GP about my drug use or alcohol use?
Usually, they will do one of two things. They can either refer you to your local service for more specialised help, or it might be that a Project Worker from the local Drug and Alcohol Service (usually known as a G.P. Liaison worker) already attends the surgery on a regular basis, in which case they might make an appointment for you to speak to them.

Can they do this without my permission?
No, they can’t. In the same way that a Drug and Alcohol Service may not speak to your G.P. without your consent, the same is true in reverse. This also includes the G.P. Liaison worker.

Can my G.P. discuss this with anyone else?
No, whatever you say to your G.P. is confidential. A doctor may only break your confidentiality if they believe that you or someone else is at risk of serious harm, or a child is in danger. Otherwise, they may not discuss you or your problems with anyone, including your family members or employers.

Will my G.P. prescribe medication for my substance use issues?
It is unlikely that they will. Most G.P’s would ask you to allow them to refer you to a specialised Drug and Alcohol service.

Why is that?
In the same way that a G.P. on diagnosing a serious illness, cancer for example, would refer you to a specialist for treatment, the same is true for a substance use issue.

After I have been referred, what happens next?
That is up to you. Your G.P. might work with the local drug and alcohol service to ensure you receive the appropriate treatment. If you are prescribed medication for your addiction problems, you G.P. might take over prescribing once you have stabilised. There are a lot of options, which will be discussed with you by your G.P. and the other professionals working to help you deal with your problems.