Drug-free treatment

Drug-free treatment involves the application of psychosocial and educational techniques to achieve long-term abstinence from drugs. Traditionally, drug-free treatment has been residential and long term, e.g. in therapeutic communities. Today, it is often also offered in community-based settings.

Unlike MAT, for which centralised national registers exist in many Member States, registers of drug-free treatment are rare, and reliable, clear, quantitative data for this method of treatment are scarce. Although it is not possible to make an accurate comparison with MAT, reports from Member States indicate that MAT is the principal form of treatment for problem opiate users in the majority of EU Member States and at an aggregated EU level. However, some countries report a general preference for drug-free treatment rather than MAT (Estonia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Poland and Finland). In a number of countries, notably Greece, Spain and Norway, levels of MAT and drug-free treatment appear to be similar.