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Global public health objectives need to address substance abuse in developing countries
Date:8/14/2014

New York, NY, August 14, 2014 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.

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
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Contact: Eileen Leahy
e.leahy@elsevier.com
732-238-3628
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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