Introduction

In this chapter a general account is presented of ways of conceptualizing and assessing the extent and nature of drug misuse problems in a population, together with approaches that may be adopted by treatment service organizations seeking to meet the treatment needs of this population. The drug misuse treatment population is heterogeneous and specific treatment issues relevant to certain groups are noted at different points during the discussion. Inter-organizational and operational issues in a locality are the main focus, rather than intra-organizational development and delivery issues. An epidemiological perspective is used to conceptualize and describe population needs for effective treatment services in the context of local health and social care service commissioning arrangements and structures. (1)

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