EBC survey on ICT treatment of substance use disorders
The field of substance abuse treatment has made significant advances in the development of effective interventions. These consist of a wide spectrum of therapies including a growing group of pharmaco-therapies on one end and major forms of psychosocial-therapies on the other.
Unfortunately, despite the advances in the development of effective treatments, these and other treatments for substance abuse disorders are poorly delivered in practice. The reason of this lies in the extensive clinical training of professionals or operators that these treatments require, making it very often not affordable. The access to these treatments is also a problem as less than one tenth of the individuals who could benefit from treatments actually receive it.
To overcome these barriers, a new line of research is exploring the role that information and communication technologies may have in the delivery of substance abuse treatments. This research has highlighted the promising role that these technologies may play in improving the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and reach of efforts to assess, prevent, treat, and support the recovery management of substance use disorders. Nonetheless, the application of technologies in substance abuse treatments is still at an early stage and much more rigorous research is needed to establish how this technologies can be implemented in the current and future health care systems.
In this respect, the European Brain Council (EBC) on behalf of STOA – the Science and Technology Options Assessment panel of the European Parliament (EP) – is conducting a study focused on the application of Information and Communication Technologies to the delivery of interventions for the treatment and recovery management of substance use disorders. The purpose of the study is to highlight the current and future state of the science in this area of intervention delivery and will build up a useful evidence based information pool that will be provided directly to members of the European Parliament and other decision makers.
The survey was launched on 9th June 2015 and the results will be released in the course of September. Further information can be requested to EBC’s Brussels Office.