Italy Country Drug Report 2019

Quality assurance

The Italian National Action Plan on Drugs 2010-13 states that drug treatment and other interventions should be continually assessed through a systematic evaluation of their safety, efficacy, acceptability, ethics, financial sustainability and the degree of customer satisfaction. In general, the monitoring and continuous evaluation of effects of interventions should be based on rigorous evaluations; however, apart from some scientific projects conducted in recent years, no systematic evaluations of the interventions implemented in Italy are available.

In Italy, health services are accredited through the National Health System, which is delegated to the individual regions/autonomous provinces; services for drug users are part of this system. The regions/autonomous provinces maintain their complete independence in formulating local policies and strategies, as well as planning, accrediting and organising the treatment services. The local health authorities (ASL) carry out a planning and operational role: they define and implement the evidence-based operational procedures with the aim of implementing homogeneous and coordinated interventions in their territories. The ASL check and verify the quality of the assistance provided and the development of agreed common programmes and are responsible for the organisation and for the activities of public services for addictions. Regions and autonomous provinces increasingly assess the quality of drug treatment with the support of guidelines. A number of Italian prevention centres are supporting and implementing the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards, Phase II.

Some regions have reported the implementation of continuing education courses on substance use problems for psychologists.

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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.