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close this bookResponding to Drug and Alcohol Problems in the Community (WHO, 1991, 109 p.)
close this folder3. Organizing primary health care services to combat drug and alcohol abuse
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentFunctions of primary health care services
View the documentPrimary prevention
View the documentSecondary prevention
View the documentTertiary prevention
View the documentFunctions of the second level of health care
View the documentThe changing role of specialists
View the documentCoordination with other sectors
View the documentEvaluation and monitoring
View the documentTraining
View the documentBudget


A number of principles must be borne in mind when health services are being developed to deal with drug- and alcohol-related problems in the community:

· Medical science and technology are appropriate for treating individual diseases, but are not sufficient to reduce and prevent drug- and alcohol-related problems.

· Drug- and alcohol-related problems have to be dealt with through primary health care, with emphasis on decentralized care for the promotion of health and the prevention of disease, active participation of the family and community, use of non-specialized primary health care workers, and collaboration with personnel in other governmental and nongovernmental sectors.

· The whole health sector should be structured to support decentralization, through delegation of knowledge and skills to primary health care workers and to the people themselves, to promote health for all and general well-being.

· Mental health care and the skills to deal with drug- and alcohol-related problems should be essential components of primary health care, carried out in the course of everyday activities.

· Primary health care workers should be trained in simple but effective techniques to combat drug- and alcohol-related problems, including mobilizing community action, stimulating self-help groups, providing health education, and encouraging healthy life-styles. They should be trained in skills such as interviewing, counselling, maintaining social support, crisis intervention, and providing guidance about the use of leisure time.