Needs groups and the aims of treatment

The development and organization of treatment services to respond to drug use is ideally based on a thorough understanding of the nature of problems which arise to the individual, his or her family and the wider community. Consequently, treatment responses to drug use disorders have three general aims: to reduce the risks and harms that drug use causes both the user and others; to stabilize and reduce illicit drug consumption; and to facilitate abstinence and promote the rehabilitation and reintegration of drug users into society. In planning for an integrated and effective treatment response, a target population's needs in relation to drug use disorders can be defined as that population's ability to benefit from services and treatments shown or considered to be effective. (1>

It is helpful to identify several different types of individual who may be in need of treatment. The following categories may overlap to a considerable extent, but will be considered in turn: the dependent user, the injector, the user in withdrawal, the recovering dependent user, the user with comorbidity, and the intoxicated user. Other factors will interact with these groups, including gender, age, ethnicity, and socio-economic status.

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