Professor Michael Gossop

Professor Gossop is a leading addictions researcher in the National Addiction Center at the London University Institute of Psychiatry. He is Head of Research in the Addictions Directorate at the Maudsley Hospital in London where he has worked since 1972. He has acted on many occasions as a consultant on drug and alcohol problems to the World Health Organisation and has also acted as a consultant on drug addiction to the United Nations in Pakistan. In 1998 he was presented with the European Addiction Research Award for outstanding contributions to the advancement of addiction research. Professor Gossop is the founding editor of Addiction Abstracts and has published more than 250 articles on the addicitons, including six books. Living with Drugs was first published in 1982 and has been continuously in print since that time.

Measuring substance dependence

The concept of dependence is now established as central to our understanding of drug misuse. Dependence (typically upon opiates) is also the most common problem presented by drug misusers seeking treatment in the UK. A number of measures have been developed to assess the severity of dependence upon different substances, and severity of dependence has been found to relate to consumption patterns, route of administration, and to a range of substance-related problems. However, few drug takers confme themselves to using a single substance. The use of multiple substances creates complication for the assessment and understanding of dependence problems, particularly with regard to potential interactions between dependencies upon different substances. This presentation presents evidence about the importance of dependence and considers some of the implications and complications raised by multiple substance use behaviours.