Detainees with substance use disorders in police custody: Guidelines for clinical management (5th edition)

  • 12/03/2020
  • Categories: Guidelines for Good Practice, Forensic Practitioner

A working group report by: The Royal College of Psychiatrists and The Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine, March 2020, also known as ‘The Blue Guidelines’.

Those with substance use disorders who are in police custody are entitled to the same high quality and effective treatment, delivered by healthcare professionals with the appropriate competencies, as the rest of the population. Accurate assessment of associated morbidities, including the degree and severity of dependence, and of the need for medical intervention, is essential, because both intoxication and withdrawal can put detainees at risk of medical, psychiatric and even legal complications.

Please do review this document carefully as there are a number of significant changes to the principles of medical management, including in relation to detainees with mental disorder and substance use disorders; detainees with learning (intellectual) disabilities; older people with multiple co-morbidity; pregnant detainees, and children. The competencies for clinicians working with detainees with substance use disorders in police custody are outlined. There are separate sections on the management of specific drug problems and the forensic aspects of detainee management.