2 days of drug dependence consultation in Portugal.

N F da Costa


This paper reports the results of a survey of all State outpatient clinics for drug addiction in Portugal. Two consecutive days of consultations in November 1992 were considered. The Health Ministry's SPTT--Service for Drug Addiction Prevention and Treatment--coordinates the activity of all the centres and promoted the inquiry. The main objective was to simultaneously evaluate the state of the population under treatment in what concerns the therapeutic methods used, their clinical costs and efficacy. This methodology may allow us to draw an accurate portrait of the Portuguese drug addiction public health program. We received 535 answers which we estimate to be two thirds of the consultations. Heroin abuse is the main problem in 91.3% of all cases plus 3.9% that associate heroin and cocaine abuse. Cannabis comes next with 2.1%, alcohol abuse with 0.8% and benzodiazepines with 0.5%. In what concerns the clinical results, 60% were abstinent: 15.1% were abstinent for longer than six months, 9.9% for longer than three months but less than six months, 19.8% were abstinent for less than that but longer than a month and 14.5% for longer than a week but less than a month. The main therapeutic approaches were psychotherapeutic in 54.1%, psychopharmacologic in 42.1% and socio-therapeutic in 2.3% of the cases. The author presents further data and discusses the results and their clinical implications.

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