Greece Country Drug Report 2019

Treatment

The treatment system

Drug treatment in Greece is provided by public entities or corporate bodies under private law, almost all of which are fully or partially funded by the government. According to Law No 4348/16 Joint Ministerial Decree Oik 25132/4/4/16, people without social security and vulnerable social groups, including people who inject drugs, have access to all public health services including hospitalisation and medication therapy.

The main treatment modalities available are psychosocial interventions and opioid substitution treatment (OST), which are delivered mostly in outpatient settings. Outpatient treatment is provided through specialised drug treatment centres and prison units. There are three specific intervention (drug-free) programmes for young cannabis users.

Inpatient treatment is provided by residential drug treatment units, therapeutic communities, prison units and one specialised detoxification unit. Psychosocial treatment, screening for mental health disorders, provision of mental health care, case management and referral to relevant medical and social services are available in a majority of the units.

OST, with methadone or buprenorphine, is the most frequently offered treatment option and is currently available in most Greek cities. The Organisation Against Drugs (OKANA) is the only organisation with legal permission to establish, operate and monitor OST programmes.

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Treatment provision

In 2017, 12 480 people received drug treatment in Greece, with 9 out of 10 clients treated in outpatient settings; the majority were treated in OST programmes.

Treatment demand data indicate that most clients enter treatment as a result of primary heroin use. Since 2011, the number of treatment entries for heroin has decreased, while the entries for cannabis have increased. A moderate increase is also reported for cocaine-related treatment demands.

Over the period 2010-12, the number of clients treated in OST programmes increased substantially, followed by a stable trend, although there was a small decrease in 2017. A total of 9 388 patients received OST in 2017, with buprenorphine-based medication prescribed most frequently.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.