GPs offered online training to assist patients with alcohol and drug use issues

Alcohol and other drug (AOD) use problems are becoming more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is boosting the skills of GPs to better address these issues.

“Substance use problems are growing worse during the COVID-19 pandemic due to a range of factors including anxiety about whether they or are a loved one will contract the virus, increased social isolation, loss of employment and disruptions to daily routines such as exercise,” explains RACGP President, Dr Harry Nespolon.

The RACGP is able to deliver the Alcohol and Other Drugs GP Education Program under the $7.9 million initiative, funded by the Federal Government.

The program will encourage participation from rural and remote GPs and assist doctors in treating at-risk groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and LGBTQI individuals.

Essential skills training will provide a skills update for GPs wanting to improve their approach to conversations about alcohol and other drug use and is now available to all RACGP members through a self-directed e-learning module on gplearning.

AOD live

Delivered via video conferencing between May and November this year, AOD live training provides participants with the opportunity to listen to presenters, interact with each other and discuss cases in small groups, as well as receive feedback from AOD expert GPs.

Alternatively, treatment skills can be completed at a GPs own pace through an online self-directed e-learning module, gplearning.

Additionally, Project ECHO® provides a further opportunity to join a small-group online case discussion series and learn more about treating AOD patients in the current COVID-19 environment.

“This is a really exciting opportunity that will assist GPs on the frontline help people address their substance use problems without fear of stigma or shame,” says Dr Nespolon.

“Doctors already have access to a range of evidence-based resources. However, the gap we have identified is in providing practical ways that GPs can support patients who find it difficult to talk about their alcohol intake, misuse of prescribed medications or other drug use.”

To learn more about the programs, click here.

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