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Substance Misuse Programme (SMP)

Substance Misuse Programme Team

Programme Director 



Dr Ide Delargy

Assistant Programme Director 



Dr Des Crowley

Clinical Audit Facilitator 



Dr Marie Claire Van Hout




Ms Aoife McBride



What is substance misuse?

Substance misuse related issues are common, presenting in up to 15% of primary care consultations, up to 40% of emergency department consultations and up to 80% of prison admissions. As general practitioners are ideally placed to identify people with drug or alcohol problems, they need to be aware of the extent and consequences of these problems to the health of the individual, and the effect on their families and society.

Substance misuse can be defined as: "Intoxication by – or regular excessive consumption of and/or dependence on psychoactive substances, leading to social, psychological, physical or legal problems. It includes problematic use of both legal and illegal drugs (including alcohol when used in combination with other substances)." Nice 2007.

Overview of the Programme

  • To provide education and training to all GPs and GP Registrars on issues related to substance misuse and associated health problems.
  • To work in collaboration with other agencies e.g. National Guidelines Development Group to provide best practice guidelines for the management of substance misuse in primary care.
  • To provide training and continuing medical education to general practitioners involved in Methadone Treatment Protocol (MTP) in primary care.
  • To develop and implement an audit process which both ensures best practice and provides support for general practitioners taking part in the MTP. 

Educational Aims of the Programme

  • To ensure that all GPs have the appropriate skills to identify, manage or refer patients with substance misuse problems in primary care.
  • To ensure that all GPs are supported in their level of knowledge and are regularly updated on current issues in relation to substance misuse.


The Substance Misuse Programme reports to the ICGP Education Governance Committee. This audit process is overseen by the Audit Review Group (ARG) which is a joint ICGP/HSE committee and administered by the Substance Misuse Programme (SMP) at the ICGP.