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Keywords:

  • AOD problems;
  • efficacy of interventions;
  • general practitioners;
  • training;
  • work-force development;
  • workplace structure

Abstract

General practitioners (GPs) and increasingly other medical practitioners are well placed to address alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems. Their involvement in this area of care, however, is assessed to be less than optimal. There is, however, a growing body of evidence for the potential efficacy of medical practitioner intervention at the primary care, emergency department and in-patient level. There is also considerably expanded scope to operate from an evidence-based perspective. However, key questions arise regarding what constitutes best practice in the translation of the growing AOD knowledge base into clinical practice behaviours. This paper explores possible contributory factors to the low level of engagement with AOD issues by GPs and examines a wide range of individual, structural and systemic issues that may be amenable to change. Strategies for the dissemination of research findings, changing professional practice behaviour and introducing sustainable structural reforms are also addressed.