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Understanding Drugs of concern

November 25, 20211 min read

On Cracking Addiction this week

There are a whole range of drugs of concern that one can become dependent upon or become addicted to and this list can seem daunting. The list of drugs that a 'use disorder' can be appended to under the DSM 5 criteria is similarly long. Dr Ferghal Armstrong though provides us with a useful mnemonic to remember these drugs 'COCA SHITS'.

• Cocaine
• Opioids
• Cannabis
• Alcohol
• Stimulants
• Hallucinogens
• Inhalants
• Tobacco
• Sedatives

Similarly an alternative classification system of drugs of dependence making it easier to remember these drugs is as follows:

The Legals
Alcohol tobacco
The prescribed
Opiates benzodiazepines quetiapine pregabalin stimulants
The uppers
Cocaine amphetamine methamphetamine
Downers
Heroin cannabis
Party drugs
MDMA LSD magic mushrooms GHB

Identifying those patients who may be ta risk of prescription drug aberrancy can be difficult and is an area that can leave a doctor feeling quite fraught. A useful set or patterns of behaviours to be aware of can be remembered through Dr Armstrong's mnemonic 'USE TALK'

Urgency
Unscheduled medical appointments
Splitting
"You are the only one who can help"
Efficacy
"Nothing else works for me"
Timing
Saturday afternoon and I have run out of my medication – no option for cross checking with other agencies
Allergies
"I am intolerant of all other pharmacological options"
Lost
Lost prescriptions that trigger requests for further replacement prescriptions
Knowledge
High degree of knowledgeability surrounding the drug in question

Drugs of concernAddiction mnemonicDSM 5 criteriaPrescription drug aberrancySubstance dependence classification
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Dr Thileepan Naren

Dr. Thileepan Naren, an esteemed medical professional, holds prestigious qualifications including MBBS, FACRRM, FRACGP, and FAChAM, showcasing his extensive expertise in the field. Renowned as an Addiction Medicine Specialist, he brings a wealth of experience to the forefront, particularly in catering to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalised communities. With a proven track record, Dr. Naren exemplifies dedication and compassion in providing comprehensive healthcare solutions to those in need.

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