Problem areas for services for people with alcohol and drug problems
Specific problem areas for services for people with alcohol and drug problems are: availability of services, content of services and meeting statutory requirements. Other problem areas are: providing comprehensive services, and knowledge about treatment.
The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision has summed up the results of supervision of services for people with alcohol and drug problems for the period 2004-2006. From previous reports, articles and correspondence, we see that there are some areas where deficiencies in services have been identified, or where there is a danger for deficiencies occurring. These problem areas are:
- inadequate or limited availability of services – too little capacity, regional differences and other types of variation
- danger of deficiencies in the content of services – lack of qualified staff, inadequate quality of services, and failure to meet professional guidelines
- failure to meet statutory requirements as a result of lack of knowledge, and weaknesses or limitations in the legislation
- inadequate provision of services and lack of coordination of services
- lack of knowledge and lack of systematic registration of service provision – at the national and local levels.
Previously, we have informed the responsible authorities about the results of supervision. The experience we have gained from supervision in this area is in line with the results of research and with knowledge gained from experience. Our findings have been followed up with various measures both at the political and administrative levels. The Government’s Action Plan to Combat Alcohol and Drug Problems 2006-2008 shows that an initiative has been taken to follow up areas where there is a danger of deficiencies occurring, which have been identified by the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision. The Proposition to the Storting No. 1 (2007 2008) from the Ministry of Health and Care Services contains a proposal for a plan for this area.
We wish to highlight two areas that present particular challenges. The first area relates to the problem of lack of professional consensus and knowledge-based treatment practice in several of the multi-professional specialized services. The other area is municipal responsibility for providing comprehensive and coordinated services for people with alcohol and drug problems, so that they receive essential health and social services. These services should ensure that these people have accommodation, that they can develop a social network, and that they can have a life with meaningful activities.
The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision has authority to intervene when we find out that services are not provided in accordance with the legislation. During the annual process for deciding which areas to give priority to, we assess the need for further supervision of these services.
“The municipalities have responsibility for providing comprehensive and coordinated services for people with alcohol and drug problems, so that they receive essential health and social services.”