Addiction psychiatrist Dr Adam Winstock tells medical conference that doctors are doing a disservice by only speaking about drug-related harms.

23 Mar 2015

Doctors need to start having honest and open conversations with their patients about illicit drug-taking for pleasure, an eminent addiction specialist from London has told a medical conference in Melbourne.

Dr Adam Winstock, an addiction psychiatrist who also founded the Global Drug Survey, told the International Medicine in Addiction conference on Sunday that doctors were doing a disservice by only speaking about drug-related harms.

But health professionals needed to help a hidden but potentially at-risk group of people who like using drugs, but whose lives were not necessarily dominated by them, he said.

Those illicit drug users should have easy access to credible information from medical professionals about how to minimise their risk of harm while taking drugs, and how to self-regulate while using them, Winstock said.

“What I want to say to doctors is, we work with 10% of the population who use drugs, and they are those suffering from addiction and harms,” Winstock told Guardian Australia.

“But 90% of illicit drug users don’t enter emergency departments or become addicted, and could use some help and information to make sure they don’t.

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