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Drug abuse problem

Drug abuse problem use public health

Problem drug use the public health imperative; what some of the literature says.


With more than 200,000 drug abuse problem users in contact with structured treatment services in England the public health imperative behind drug treatment is great. Problem drug use for many is a chronic and relapsing condition, where “cure” is often neither a reasonable or appropriate expectation.

Plus it can further be argued that especially in these circumstances. Problem drug use is no different from any number of chronic and enduring health conditions that are managed. Within the health care system and therefore should be conceptualised as such. 


A public health approach to drug treatment emphasises the need for drug users in or accessing treatment, to reduce their harmful drug use, reduce drug use related risks such as sepsis and overdose and stay alive for longer. However a public health perspective in relation to problem drug use isn’t always either apparent or readily understood. So to that end there is still a significant need to continue the arguments and debate for treatment.

Plus interventions for problem and dependent drug users need to extend beyond an individualistic approach. For the purposes of discussion in this article public and population health will be used interchangeably.


A recognition and acceptance that a public and population health approach to the management of problem drug users. This sound public health policy also then requires a long term commitment. Especially in terms of staffing and resources where service delivery mirrors that of chronic condition management. 

Author – Gez Bevan Ms

Drug abuse article from substance abuse
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