Characteristics of treatment services | Psychosocial support in substitution treatment | Quality assurance | Social reintegration | Treatment demand data | Characteristics of clients demanding drug treatment
Many of those who have developed a problem with drug use will benefit from contact with a treatment agency. A range of different treatment options is available across the European Community, reflecting both national and historic contexts as well as the differing characteristics of the population in need of help. These are summarised below. The availability of treatment varies between countries and is, in general, less developed in the new Member States. However, overall there appears to be an ongoing investment in increasing capacity in this sector with evidence of an improvement in the opportunities available for those with drug problems.
A new development in this area is the use of the communication potential of new technology, like the Internet, to enhance the services available to drug users. Considerable attention has been given to the role of the Internet in the promotion of illegal drug use. It is therefore a positive finding that some countries, such as the Netherlands and Finland, have taken initiatives to explore the potential of this medium to improve the information and care options available. Activities have included exploiting the direct communication links provided by e-mail and mobile phones, and also looking at how e-counselling services and SMS (text) services can benefit drug users.
A general trend across the EU is that drug-related treatment has moved away from hospitals and into treatment centres in community settings. This development is less evident in the new Member States, where psychiatric hospitals remain the primary treatment providers (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia), although this may be changing in some countries; for example, in the Czech Republic care is provided in both settings.