Improving awareness of substance misuse

Substance misuse is becoming increasingly common and is a problem that is likely to be encountered by every prehospital clinician at some time. Substance misusers are frequently demanding and aggressive but the highest standards of management and protection for both patient and clinician must be given. Becoming more informed about the many potentials of patients with substance misuse is therefore an important issue for paramedics. It is useful to be able to actively source knowledge at times of crisis with a greater understanding of what inter-agency services are available in your area (including out of hours) to improve the management of these patients. This article gives a brief overview of some of the substances of misuse, some commons street names and details how education and research is not only a part of meeting standards for registration but provides a key element in the management of substance misuse.

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