Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Global public health objectives need to address substance abuse in developing countries

Date:
August 14, 2014
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Substance addiction is a large and growing problem for developing societies. A new study that surveyed reports on modalities for treating addiction and their effectiveness in the developing world calls on policymakers to use this information to support the design of programs that meet known population needs. The study also encourages looking at ways to adapt the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) model to fit different cultural norms.

Substance addiction is a large and growing problem for developing societies. A new study that surveyed reports on modalities for treating addiction and their effectiveness in the developing world calls on policymakers to use this information to support the design of programs that meet known population needs. The study also encourages looking at ways to adapt the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) model to fit different cultural norms. The findings are published in the Annals of Global Health.

Related Articles


The World Health Organization has indicated that alcohol and illicit drugs pose multifaceted dangers to millions of people, from the psychological damage of addiction to a range of physical health problems. A recent report highlights the need to address a broad spectrum of mental health issues, including substance use disorder (SUD), in order to achieve global public health objectives. This led to a call by policymakers to improve access to treatment for SUD in developing nations. Resources to address SUD in the developing world are severely limited, however, and some 34% of low- and middle-income nations have not yet developed a substance use policy.

"It is difficult to assess the extent of SUD. This is, in part, because of the limited capacity of these countries' governments to conduct national surveys, but it is also due to underinvestment in mental health care in these countries and to underutilization of mental health services in resource-poor settings," says Craig L. Katz, MD, of the Departments of Psychiatry and Medical Education, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York. "The poorest nations allocate the smallest portion of their already strained public budgets to mental health."

These challenges provided the impetus for a review of the current literature on SUD treatment in the developing world, with the aim of informing future program development and research. Investigator Jasleen Salwan, MD-MPH Candidate, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, identified 30 relevant studies published in 1994 or later. The treatment methods included pharmacological approaches, intervention studies to prevent, detect, and reduce harm, the AA-style or Minnesota/Therapeutic Community Model, and multimodal approaches. Two studies compared treatment approaches between two different countries: China with Germany, and El Salvador with Puerto Rico. Other studies looked at access to treatment and resources for providers.

"An important finding is that what works well in one setting may not work well in another," notes Salwan. "Existing research highlights the need to provide secular alternatives to the dominant faith-based treatment approach in El Salvador, to improve access to harm reduction programs for crack cocaine users in Brazil, and to ensure the availability of safe havens for recovering addicts in China to avoid being treated as criminals."

Although comprehensive overviews of treatment models were markedly absent from the literature surveyed, the studies highlight specific areas of need within developing countries, building on existing awareness of general barriers to treatment in those countries. "Policymakers can use this information to design programs that meet known population needs and avoid providing extraneous services," adds Katz.

The investigators recommend that future research should blend inquiry with practice. "Although further investigation is clearly needed in order to better understand the specific needs of developing world populations, assisting those populations should be a primary goal of all endeavors. Conversely, service-oriented planning for addressing SUD in the developing world should be done with a mandate to study the effect of interventions in order to establish program efficacy," comments Katz.

Finally, the authors suggest further evaluation of the AA model. There were mixed results in the literature regarding implementation of the AA model in developing countries that invite further exploration, ideally in more systematic and comprehensive ways.

"Although there is reason to question whether a model that relies so heavily on self-revelation and sharing will work in all places due to cultural and privacy concerns, the AA model has great appeal for developing countries that lack financial resources to create more comprehensive substance use treatment programs. Finding successful ways to adapt the AA model in different settings therefore may not only be a cost-effective way to scale up services, but also help foster a culture of awareness of substance use issues that can in turn spark greater investment in medicalized resources beyond what AA can offer," Katz concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jasleen Salwan, Craig L. Katz. A Review of Susbstance Use Disorder Treatment in Developing World Communities. Annals of Global Health, 2014; 80 (2): 115 DOI: 10.1016/j.aogh.2014.04.010

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Global public health objectives need to address substance abuse in developing countries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814191828.htm>.
Elsevier. (2014, August 14). Global public health objectives need to address substance abuse in developing countries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814191828.htm
Elsevier. "Global public health objectives need to address substance abuse in developing countries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814191828.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) China and "one or two" other countries are capable of mounting cyberattacks that would shut down the electric grid and other critical systems in parts of the United States, according to Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and hea Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nations Pledge $9.3 Bn for Green Climate Fund

Nations Pledge $9.3 Bn for Green Climate Fund

AFP (Nov. 20, 2014) Nations meeting in Berlin pledge $9.3 billion (7.4 bn euros) for a climate fund to help poor countries cut emissions and prepare for global warming, just shy of a $10bn target. Duration: 00:46 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins