Summary of Countrywide Supervision of Municipal Social Services for Alcohol and Drug Abusers in 2004
Summary of Report of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision 4/2005
In 2004 the offices of the County Governors carried out supervision in 58 municipalities, as part of the programme of countrywide supervision of social services. The supervision involved investigating whether the municipalities ensure that alcohol and drug abusers receive social services. The following areas were investigated:
- that alcohol and drug abusers receive information, advice and counselling that can help to solve or prevent social problems
- that alcohol and drug abusers receive social services, such as practical help and training, allocation of a support person and an offer of a place in a municipal or private institution. Such services shall be appropriate for them and easily available.
- that alcohol and drug abusers who apply for social services receive such services in accordance with the regulations in the Social Services Act
- that alcohol and drug abusers who need accommodation are given temporary accommodation that comply with the minimum level of acceptable standards
- that alcohol and drug abusers who are undergoing treatment are followed up with counselling and, if necessary, a home visit
- that alcohol and drug abusers are followed up when they are resident in an institution, and that necessary measures are implemented when they are discharged from the institution.
From 2004, responsibility for multidisciplinary treatment for alcohol and drug abusers lies with the state, through the health trusts. Most alcohol and drug abusers are not in treatment institutions, and many of them require municipal support services. The provisions in the Social Services Act shall function as a safety net, so that all those who have problems receive the services that they need. In this countrywide supervision, it was investigated whether the municipalities ensure that alcohol and drug abusers do in fact receive the social services that they need, and that they do not fall through the safety net.
The results of supervision show that the municipalities make little use of social services for alcohol and drug abusers. Thus, these services do not play the important role they are meant to play, in ensuring social security and good living conditions for alcohol and drug abusers. When services are available, they are often not used, because they are adapted more for elderly people and people with physical disabilities, rather than for alcohol and drug abusers. The situation is better with regard to adaptation of advisory and counselling services, temporary accommodation and follow-up of people undergoing treatment. Supervision has shown, however, that even these services are inadequate in many municipalities.