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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Attitudes towards nicotine, alcohol and drug dependence among physicians in Israel

Prevalence of substance use and substance use disorders in Israel is similar to those in other developed countries. The aim of this study was to examine attitudes of physicians in Israel towards nicotine, alcohol and drug use and dependence.

A national sample of physicians from different fields of medical specialty (
n = 208, response rate 26%) responded to a 50-item questionnaire. Questions included general questions regarding substance use and addictions, as well as specific questions focusing on nicotine, alcohol, cannabis and heroin use.

The poor response rate in this survey dictates caution in interpretation the results. However, they suggest that among medical specialties, psychiatrists had higher levels of self-reported competency in treating addictions and lower rates of moralism towards addictions.

Across substances, the highest rates of moralism and lowest ratings of treatment efficacy were directed towards individuals with alcohol dependence. Physicians generally reported experiencing lower levels of satisfaction and higher levels of aggression when treating individuals with alcohol or drug dependence compared with other patients.

Physicians' attitudes towards addictions have a significant role in the care that clients with addictions receive. Medical education programs in Israel should devote provisions towards educating physicians about addictions.

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