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Drugs of abuse 

Drugs of abuse
Drugs of abuse

D Nicholas Bateman

, Robert D Jefferson

, Simon HL Thomas

, John P Thompson

, and J Allister Vale

Page of

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date: 23 October 2019

Exposure to drugs of abuse for recreational purposes is a common reason for presentation to emergency departments across the world. Patients with these problems need management directed at the specific drug, or drugs, used and appropriate counselling and psychological care. Those who inject have risks of infection, and patients exposed to large amounts of psychoactive agent may be psychotic or have other behavioural disturbances. This chapter divides the drugs of abuse into their principal clinical groupings, essentially stimulants, opioids, and psychedelics. Specific use in sport, and the management of patients secreting illicit drugs internally (stuffers and packers) are then addressed. As with all poisonings, combinations of drugs of abuse may be seen in the same patient; such cases present difficult management challengesoften requiring expert advice.

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