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Opiate addiction treatment success

Opiate addiction treatment has dramatically improved in the wake of new national guidelines, a study shows.

But GP involvement, a key part of the guidelines, has not improved in line with other areas.

Lead author Professor John Strang, director of the National Addiction Centre in London, said that, contrary to early findings, national guidelines had caused 'substantial changes' in prescribing.

But he added: 'The only area in which there has been an apparently negative change – that is, not in the direction recommended by the national guidelines – is with regard to increased GP involvement.

'Even here, despite the reduction in the proportion of prescriptions from GPs, this was against a shifting baseline of an increasing patient population – so that this still represents an approximately 50% increase over the 10-year study period, in the actual number of prescriptions being provided by GPs to this patient population.'

The research, published early online in Addiction, found that methadone and buprenorphine prescribing to opiate addicts doubled in the decade from 1995.

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