Characteristics of patients accessing NHS Lanarkshire Addiction Services for the treatment of opioid analgesic dependence

Duncan Hill, Ian Towle (Editor)

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Background: Reviewing patient characteristics of new patients attending NHS Addiction Services in Lanarkshire, an increase in new patients accessing treatment for opioid analgesics dependence (OAD) was identified. This article conducted to assist in the identification of the characteristics of OAD patients that are presenting to addiction services in NHS Lanarkshire by using data collected, on the Europad-RADARs surveillance form, at the first medical appointment on substances used in the 90 days prior to admission. Methods: A total of 217 patients had accessed the service in the time frame. Of these, 29 patients (13.3%) declared that their primary drug of misuse was a prescribed opioid analgesic. Results: The reported results demonstrated that 13 (45%) were female. Various routes of obtaining the medication were reported, including access to illicit markets and supplies.16 (55%) patients reported taking other medications in addition for a euphoric effect. In relation to chronic pain, as defined in the questionnaire, 10 (35%) of the patients reported to having chronic pain at some point in their life and 19 (65%) reported to have never attended a GP for chronic pain. Conclusions: The data collected demonstrates that there is a demand for addiction treatment services to be provided for patients who have been misusing prescribed opioid analgesic medications and the demand for these services appears to be increasing. As a result the services employed to address the issue and provide treatment for these patients may need to be adapted from the traditional illicit opioid user model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalHeroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • patient characteristics
  • opioid analgesic dependence
  • new patients
  • OAD
  • addiction treatment services

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