NEWS

Drug rehab programs are effective

Every day that a former drug addict spends in a rehabilitation center increases his chances of reclaiming his life and his place in society. This is the main finding – and message – of a study on the effectiveness of rehab communities operated by the Center for the Therapy of Addicts (KETHEA), and conducted by the center in collaboration with the Sociology Department of the National School of Public Health (ESDY). The study recorded the status of 551 individuals over the course of five years after their admission to a rehab center. The findings were presented on Monday during a conference organized by the National Research Foundation on the issue of «Effectiveness of Therapy in Drug Abuse,» which was organized with the collaboration of KETHEA, the University of California at San Diego’s Department of Psychology, and ESDY. Based on the findings, one year of intensive therapy under the model of the rehab communities (either those operating on an outpatient basis or those offering board) drastically reduced illegal substance abuse, while it also increased an individual’s chances of returning to the labor market. Specifically, of those who stayed with a rehab program for over a year, 73.44 percent were rehabilitated, while of those who spent fewer than 90 days at a center, only 11.84 percent were rehabilitated. Moreover, the abuse of heroin among users who stayed in a rehab center for more than a year dropped by 76 percent, while for those who exited the program after the first nine months, the figure is 47 percent, for those who stayed in therapy for three to nine months, 31 percent, and for those who stayed less than three months the recovery record is just 11 percent. The study also shows a direct correlation between the time spent in rehab and education on drug abuse and a reduction in the likelihood of needle-sharing. Study of the subjects attending these rehab programs have also shown that after a period of time they also abstain from the use of other illegal substances, such as hashish or cocaine. Another finding of the study is that the rehab centers contribute toward termination of the use of multiple substances. Those drug abusers who attend rehab centers (as opposed who those who don’t) are also better off in terms of their legal standing, as only 27.3 percent of those who spend over a year at a rehab clinic had any outstanding legal troubles. This is also indicative of the ability of those individuals to reclaim a place in the labor market. As it was noted during Monday’s presentation, the findings of the effectiveness of the KETHEA programs are in keeping with similar studies undertaken by international organizations. The speakers, however, stressed the need for further studies to be conducted by other organizations and institutions on the problem of drugs, as it is the only way to achieve results and provide better treatment and therapy. The one-day conference was addressed by Deputy Health Minister Elpida Tsouri, who described the organization of a National Action Plan as a «meaningful step in the fight against addiction.» «The State has the obligation to enhance the rehabilitation institutions in order to cover all requests for treatment. We regard the user as a citizen who has a right to therapy,» she declared.