Romania Country Drug Report 2019

Treatment

The treatment system

Treatment-related objectives in the National Drugs Strategy 2013-20 and the related action plans place emphasis on the diversification of treatment access points and treatment programmes in Romania. In general, drug treatment is funded from the public budget and is therefore free of charge for clients.

In Romania, outpatient drug treatment is provided through the National Anti-Drug Agency (NAA), a network of drug prevention, evaluation and counselling centres. In some regions of the country, these centres are complemented by addiction integrated care centres (private or non-governmental organisation (NGO) based) and mental health centres under the Ministry of Health (MoH). The inpatient treatment system network consists of detoxification units in MoH hospitals and therapeutic communities run by NGOs.

The outpatient system provides integrated care services, psychosocial treatment and case management, while specialised medical, psychological and social services for the psychosocial reintegration of people who use drugs are available through an inpatient network. Aftercare services are not as readily available. Opioid substitution treatment (OST) is provided in nine MoH hospitals and three drug prevention, evaluation and counselling centres in Bucharest (NAA), as well as in prisons. In addition, three private providers and one NGO provide OST.

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Treatment provision

In 2017, close to 5 000 people received drug treatment, of whom over 3 500 entered specialised drug treatment services during the year. Most clients were treated in outpatient settings.

Cannabis was the primary substance for which people sought treatment in Romania — especially among those entering treatment for the first time. It is important to note that, since the entry into force of the New Criminal Procedure Code in 2014, people often enter treatment as a result of a referral by a law enforcement agency as part of a procedure that allows treatment as an alternative to imprisonment for certain categories of offences. In general, police referrals account for around half of all treatment demands in Romania.

Previously treated clients mainly requested treatment for heroin use. After some years of increase, the trend in the proportion of cannabis treatment demands has now stabilised. In recent years, around one in four drug treatment clients have entered treatment for the use of new psychoactive substances; a figure which has now stabilised.

In Romania, methadone maintenance treatment was introduced in 1998, buprenorphine in 2007, and the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone in 2008.

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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.