Portugal Country Drug Report 2019

Quality assurance

The National Plan for the Reduction of Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies 2013-20 highlights the quality of services provided to citizens as its general objective. Quality is a cross-cutting principle in the implementation of all measures aimed at tackling drugs and drug-related issues, to be achieved by the building of knowledge, the training of professionals and international cooperation. The General-Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (SICAD) is involved in defining evidence-based best practices, and technical and normative guidelines and requirements, to support implementation and ensure the quality of interventions. Moreover, it provides methodological support to organisations involved in responses to drug use and identifies areas in which these responses should be strengthened.

Within the Ministry of Health, the Health General-Directorate (DGS) is the body responsible for the accreditation of health programmes and interventions in terms of content and responses. In addition, the Portuguese Institute of Quality implements the Portuguese Quality System in accordance with international quality norms (International Organization for Standardization (ISO)). The quality-related activities promoted by SICAD (quality promotion), the DGS (quality accreditation of the basis of health programme content) and the Institute of Quality (quality accreditation based on standardisation of processes) are complementary and relevant to all addictive behaviours and dependencies programmes and interventions. In practice, agencies and services in need of quality accreditation can follow one or both paths: meeting the requirement of the DGS for intervention content accreditation or gaining accreditation with an ISO 9001-acknowledged consulting agency/company.

The provision of training and continuing education in the field of dependencies and addictive behaviours is one of the objectives of the national plan. Psychoactive drugs, addictive behaviours and drug dependencies are covered in the academic training of medical doctors, psychologists, nurses and psychosocial workers. SICAD also provides training in the area of addictive behaviours and dependencies.

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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.