• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of brjgenpracRCGP homepageJ R Coll Gen Pract at PubMed CentralBJGP at RCGPBJGP at RCGP
Br J Gen Pract. Jul 2000; 50(456): 546–549.
PMCID: PMC1313749

Experience of heroin overdose among drug users attending general practice.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Heroin overdose is responsible for significant mortality. It has not previously been highlighted as an important prevention or care issue for general practitioners (GPs) involved in the management of drug misuse. AIMS: To examine the prevalence and experience of heroin overdose in a population of drug users attending a general practice. METHOD: A questionnaire-based interview of drug users attending a general practice in Dublin, Ireland. RESULTS: Twenty-four (73% of estimated total) drug users were interviewed. Although 17 (71%) were on recognised methadone treatment programmes, 10 (42%) were still injecting heroin. A total of 23 (96%) had witnessed an overdose, with 10 (42%) having been victims of overdose themselves. Twenty-two (92%) knew a victim of fatal overdose, with four (17%) having been present at a fatal overdose. The interviews revealed high levels of activity associated with overdose and poor use of preventive measures. CONCLUSION: The issue of prevention and management of overdose should become a priority for GPs caring for opiate-dependent patients.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (46K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Watterson O, Simpson DD, Sells SB. Death rates and causes of death among opioid addicts in community drug treatment programs during 1970-1973. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 1975;2(1):99–111. [PubMed]
  • Joe GW, Lehman W, Simpson DD. Addict death rates during a four-year posttreatment follow-up. Am J Public Health. 1982 Jul;72(7):703–709. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Joe GW, Simpson DD. Mortality rates among opioid addicts in a longitudinal study. Am J Public Health. 1987 Mar;77(3):347–348. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Haastrup S, Jepsen PW. Eleven year follow-up of 300 young opioid addicts. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1988 Jan;77(1):22–26. [PubMed]
  • Tunving K. Fatal outcome in drug addiction. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1988 May;77(5):551–566. [PubMed]
  • Perucci CA, Davoli M, Rapiti E, Abeni DD, Forastiere F. Mortality of intravenous drug users in Rome: a cohort study. Am J Public Health. 1991 Oct;81(10):1307–1310. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Engström A, Adamsson C, Allebeck P, Rydberg U. Mortality in patients with substance abuse: a follow-up in Stockholm County, 1973-1984. Int J Addict. 1991 Jan;26(1):91–106. [PubMed]
  • Frischer M. Estimated prevalence of injecting drug use in Glasgow. Br J Addict. 1992 Feb;87(2):235–243. [PubMed]
  • Frischer M, Bloor M, Goldberg D, Clark J, Green S, McKeganey N. Mortality among injecting drug users: a critical reappraisal. J Epidemiol Community Health. 1993 Feb;47(1):59–63. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Oppenheimer E, Tobutt C, Taylor C, Andrew T. Death and survival in a cohort of heroin addicts from London clinics: a 22-year follow-up study. Addiction. 1994 Oct;89(10):1299–1308. [PubMed]
  • Risser D, Schneider B. Drug-related deaths between 1985 and 1992 examined at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Vienna, Austria. Addiction. 1994 Jul;89(7):851–857. [PubMed]
  • Hammersley R, Cassidy MT, Oliver J. Drugs associated with drug-related deaths in Edinburgh and Glasgow, November 1990 to October 1992. Addiction. 1995 Jul;90(7):959–965. [PubMed]
  • Zador D, Sunjic S, Darke S. Heroin-related deaths in New South Wales, 1992: toxicological findings and circumstances. Med J Aust. 1996 Feb 19;164(4):204–207. [PubMed]
  • Frischer M, Goldberg D, Rahman M, Berney L. Mortality and survival among a cohort of drug injectors in Glasgow, 1982-1994. Addiction. 1997 Apr;92(4):419–427. [PubMed]
  • O'Kelly FD, Bury G. An analysis of the effects of HIV infection in a cohort of intravenous drug users. Ir Med J. 1996 May-Jun;89(3):112–114. [PubMed]
  • Bury G, O'Kelly F. Human immunodeficiency virus infection in a Dublin general practice. J R Coll Gen Pract. 1989 Mar;39(320):101–103. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Martin E, Canavan A, Butler R. A decade of caring for drug users entirely within general practice. Br J Gen Pract. 1998 Oct;48(435):1679–1682. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Gossop M, Marsden J, Stewart D, Lehmann P, Strang J. Methadone treatment practices and outcome for opiate addicts treated in drug clinics and in general practice: results from the National Treatment Outcome Research Study. Br J Gen Pract. 1999 Jan;49(438):31–34. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cook S, Moeschler O, Michaud K, Yersin B. Acute opiate overdose: characteristics of 190 consecutive cases. Addiction. 1998 Oct;93(10):1559–1565. [PubMed]
  • Hutchinson L, Keenan E, Cheasty M, O'Connor JJ, McCarthy G. A comparison of attendance for drug misuse to Dublin accident & emergency departments 1985-1993. Ir Med J. 1995 Mar-Apr;88(2):56–57. [PubMed]
  • O'Kelly FD, O'Doherty K, Bury G, O'Callaghan E. Heroin abuse in an inner-city practice. Ir Med J. 1986 Apr;79(4):85–87. [PubMed]
  • Bury G, O'Kelly F, Pomeroy L. The use of primary care services by drug users attending a HIV prevention unit. Ir Med J. 1993 Mar;86(2):53–55. [PubMed]
  • Gossop M, Griffiths P, Powis B, Williamson S, Strang J. Frequency of non-fatal heroin overdose: survey of heroin users recruited in non-clinical settings. BMJ. 1996 Aug 17;313(7054):402–402. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Darke S, Ross J, Hall W. Overdose among heroin users in Sydney, Australia: I. Prevalence and correlates of non-fatal overdose. Addiction. 1996 Mar;91(3):405–411. [PubMed]
  • Darke S, Ross J, Hall W. Overdose among heroin users in Sydney, Australia: II. responses to overdose. Addiction. 1996 Mar;91(3):413–417. [PubMed]
  • Manning FJ, Ingraham LH. Drug "overdoses" among U.S. soldiers in Europe, 1978-1979. I. Demographics and toxicology. Int J Addict. 1983 Jan;18(1):89–98. [PubMed]
  • Bammer G, Sengoz A. Non-fatal heroin overdoses. Med J Aust. 1994 Nov 7;161(9):572–573. [PubMed]
  • McGregor C, Darke S, Ali R, Christie P. Experience of non-fatal overdose among heroin users in Adelaide, Australia: circumstances and risk perceptions. Addiction. 1998 May;93(5):701–711. [PubMed]
  • Gossop M, Darke S, Griffiths P, Hando J, Powis B, Hall W, Strang J. The Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS): psychometric properties of the SDS in English and Australian samples of heroin, cocaine and amphetamine users. Addiction. 1995 May;90(5):607–614. [PubMed]
  • Walsh RA. Opioid drug accidental deaths in the Newcastle area of New South Wales, 1970-1987. Drug Alcohol Rev. 1991;10(1):79–83. [PubMed]
  • Gutiérrez-Cebollada J, de la Torre R, Ortuño J, Garcés JM, Camí J. Psychotropic drug consumption and other factors associated with heroin overdose. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1994 Apr;35(2):169–174. [PubMed]
  • Strang J, Darke S, Hall W, Farrell M, Ali R. Heroin overdose: the case for take-home naloxone. BMJ. 1996 Jun 8;312(7044):1435–1436. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from The British Journal of General Practice are provided here courtesy of Royal College of General Practitioners

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • Compound
    Compound
    PubChem Compound links
  • MedGen
    MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...