Substance use, health and social problems of service users at 54 drug treatment agencies [dagger]. Intake data from the National Treatment Outcome Research Study

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Background The National Treatment Outcome Research Study (NTORS) is the first large-scale, prospective, multi-site treatment outcome study of drug users in the UK.

Method Substance use, health and social problems of 1075 service users were assessed at intake to 54 agencies chosen to be representative of the main national drug treatment modalities.

Results Heroin dependence was the most frequently reported problem often with poly-drug and alcohol problems. Most service users injected drugs and a quarter of the injectors shared injecting equipment. Poly-drug use and heavy drinking were more common among service users admitted to residential treatments. High criminality rates were reported. Psychological and physical health problems were common and many service users had prior contact with psychiatric and medical services.

Conclusions The range and severity of problems adversely affect individual users, their families, and present a challenge to addiction treatment services.These problems create costs for the health care, social service and criminal justice system responses.

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