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A sample of 100 patients attending drug dependence clinics was questioned about the methods they used to obtain psychotropic drugs from general practitioners. Sixty-one per cent said they were obtaining psychotropic drugs and 39 per cent said they had obtained psychotropic drugs from this source during the preceding 12 months. Drugs obtained included minor tranquillisers, barbiturates, amphetamines, and methylphenidate (`Ritalin'). Some degree of deception of the general practitioner by the patient was almost always clear. Three recommendations to help prevent this are suggested.