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Substance misuse: Prevalence, dependence and harm

Over a third of adults in the UK are believed to have used illicitdrugs at some point in their lives. Long-term drug misuse is associatedwith dependence, along with physical, mental and social harms

By Jenny Scott, PhD, MRPharmS, Rhys Ponton, PhD, MRPharmS, and Janie Sheridan, PhD, FRPharmS

NeedleOver a third of adults in the UK are believed to have used illicit drugs at some point in their lives. Long-term drug misuse is associated with dependence, along with physical, mental and social harms

 

Summary

Around 200,000 people in England are being treated for substance dependence. However, since most illicit drug use is covert, this is likely to be the tip of the iceberg.

When drug use becomes drug dependence, it can lead to physical and mental harm for the user, can have a knock-on effect that damages relationships and family life, and can generate extensive health and criminal justice costs.

Furthermore, social exclusion of drug misusers can reduce the likelihood of them engaging with healthcare services.

Jenny Scott is senior lecturer in pharmacy practice at University of Bath, Rhys Ponton is a medicines management pharmacist at NHS Plymouth and Janie Sheridan is associate professor of pharmacy practice at the School of Pharmacy, University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Email: j.a.scott@bath.ac.uk

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist URI: 10977183

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