The intoxicated user

There is also a need for health care services for the acute management of individuals who are intoxicated to an extent which threatens their continued well being. Management of intoxication is a discrete event and the individual's needs may advance to those associated with dependence, comorbidity, and withdrawal management and support. Most services provided to the intoxicated drug user will be found outside specialist drug or mental health services. Attention should be paid to assessment of the adequacy of care provided in settings such as accident and emergency departments and in police custody, where the health-care needs of the intoxicated drug user may often be overlooked. Uncertainty about the appropriateness of long-term treatment for such individuals can interfere with consideration of their short-term health-care needs (such as the prompt competent management of developing overdose). All services which have contact with opiate users should have prompt access to the injectable opiate antagonist naloxone which may be administered intravenously, intramuscularly, or subcutaneously and can be life-saving in the event of an opiate overdose.

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