The profile of specialized treatment service users - changes and challenges
The consumption of psychoactive substances, whether legal or illegal, has a devastating effect on the lives of millions of people. Portugal, with regard to drugs and alcohol, has always been pointed out as an example to be followed by its approach, however new challenges are emerging, either by the divestment that is felt in this area, or by the change in the profile of substance users who use specialized treatment services.
This study uses data provided by Intervention Division on Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies (DICAD), center region and describes the characteristics of consumers of psychoactive substances (alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, heroin and tobacco) who resorted to specialized public treatment services in the center region between 2011 and 2016. In addition to this explores the existence of changes in the profile of new consumers and what changes have been made with regard to new consumption trends. Descriptive statistics and graphic analysis procedures were used to analyze and characterize individuals.
It is possible to verify the appearance of a new profile of users who resort to our specialized services for treatment, due to problems related to the consumption of psychoactive substances. These are mostly cannabis users, with a lower average age. The onset of consumption also tends to be at younger ages, when compared to other substances. It appears that among the new consumers admitted for treatment, there is a significant prevalence of family members with problems related to the consumption of psychoactive substances, as well as associated legal antecedents.
We are currently witnessing a new paradigm of what are the consumption patterns and characteristics of new consumers of psychoactive substances.
It is necessary to rethink the model of responses for the treatment of addictive behaviors and addictions in Portugal, as well as the preventive actions carried out in this area.