Detox and rehab programs expanding

Greek rehabilitation and detox programs for substance abusers are expanding, EKTEPN’s annual report shows. Detox programs offering substitute drugs that wean addicts from illegal ones show particular demand. These alternative drugs include methadone and buprenorphine, which are used by addicts of hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Buprenorphine units have recently been opened in detox clinics in the western Athens suburb of Peristeri, the Cretan city of Hania, and in Halkida, a city north of Athens. But even though detox programs are expanding, so too are the waiting lists of those who want to get into them. In 2004, 3,707 people were on waiting lists for drug rehabilitation programs. Of that number, 3,154 were awaiting admission into a methadone or buprenorphine clinic. The EKTEPN annual report shows that in 2004, detox programs could serve a total of 2,804 people, with the eight methadone units taking in three times as many people (2,063) as the buprenorphine units (741). Last year, 641 of the 1,500 people who entered detox programs were admitted to the buprenorphine units. That shows a 30 percent increase from 2003 in the places offered to addicts in such programs and a 45 percent increase in the number of addicts who sought the buprenorphine detox services. Of the 25 total detox programs, the number of available spaces for addicts increased by 9 percent. However, the number of addicts who followed these programs decreased by 7 percent, from 1,927 people in 2003 to 1,824 in 2004. Detox and drug rehabilitation services for teens also expanded. Such programs treated 230 young addicts in 2004. Of that number, 36.5 percent followed inpatient programs, while another 43.4 percent enrolled in outpatient programs. Of those teens who sought out methadone programs, the majority dropped out, while only one in four finished the program.

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