Information on the number of people seeking treatment for a drug problem provides a useful insight into general trends in problem drug use and also offers a perspective on the organisation and uptake of treatment facilities in Europe. The EMCDDA’s treatment demand indicator (TDI) provides a uniform structure for reporting on the number and the characteristics of clients referred to drug treatment facilities. Although TDI data can be regarded as providing a reasonably robust and useful representation of the characteristics of clients referred to specialised drug services, for a number of technical reasons caution should be exercised in extrapolating findings to the clientele across the overall provision of services.
The general picture revealed by the most recent TDI data and national reports continues to reflect the trend reported in recent years of an increase in the total number of individuals entering treatment services. Despite the overall increase in treatment numbers, the number of new treatment demands, that is individuals entering treatment for the first time, appears to be fairly stable (Figure 17 OL). The increase in overall demand can be explained by a combination of factors, including, in particular, improvements in the coverage of the reporting system itself and some expansion in the availability of treatment (86).