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Police surgeons are increasingly being asked by the police to assess whether drug misusers held in police custody are fit to be detained and fit for interview. There has been little published on how they manage these questions, furthermore the management appears to vary in different parts of the country. This study sets out to determine the attitudes and practise of police surgeons to the management of drug misusers in police custody. A questionnaire was sent to the full members of the Association of Police Surgeons of Great Britain (APSGB) in March 1993. It was found that police surgeons are very aware of the increasing drug problem, indeed 76% reported that they were seeing an increasing number of drug misusers. However, they exhibit significantly negative attitudes to drug misusers and there is no common practice for prescribing controlled drugs. Fifty-two per cent said that on average they notified no drug misusers each month. Seventy-six per cent of respondents said they had received a hepatitis B immunization. The majority of respondents called for more training on drug problems. Therefore, there is an urgent need for specific guidelines for police surgeons on the management of drug misusers in police custody to address the arbitrary nature of the current practice.