Background: Problem alcohol use is
common and associated with considerable adverse outcomes among patients who
attend primary care in Ireland and other European countries for opiate
Aims: This paper aims to describe
the development and content of clinical guidelines for the management of problem
alcohol use among this population.
Methods: The guidelines were
developed in three stages: (1) identification of key stakeholders, (2)
development of evidence-based draft guidelines, and (3) determination of a modified
‘Delphi-facilitated’ consensus among the group members.
Results: The guidelines incorporate
advice for physicians on all aspects of care, including (1) definition of
problem alcohol use among problem drug users, (2) alcohol screening, (3) brief
intervention, and (4) subsequent management of patients with alcohol
Conclusions: Primary care has an
important role to play in the care of problem alcohol use among problem drug
users, especially opiate substitution patients. Further research on strategies
to inform the implementation of these guidelines is a priority.