• Integrate drug treatment and rehabilitation programmes into the community health and social services
  • Community participation
  • Sustainability and accountability to the community

Community based drug treatment refers specifically to an integrated model of treatment in the community.  It includes services from detoxification through to aftercare and also involves the coordination of any number of non-specialist services that are needed to meet client's needs.   Research compiled by UNODC suggests that the goals of community  based treatment are to:

  • Encourage behaviour change directly in the community
  • Actively involve local organizations and community members and target populations, in the establishment of an integrated network of community based services in a manner that is empowering

A key focus of community based treatment is on reaching people that are affected by the harms of substance abuse with limited access to services.   The International Network of Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Resource Centres is a global initiative by UNODC to address the growing demand for accessible and quality drug treatment and rehabilitation services around the world, especially in relatively under-resourced regions of the globe. 

Community based treatment is not readily available to clients/users at similarly high levels of treatment quality in all parts of the world.  In some countries, certain drug addicted sub-populations, such as youth, cultural minorities and heroin addicted clients, have no treatment options.  In other countries, local culture and socio-economic resources are not factored into the services provided and access is therefore limited for most people with drug related problems. 

An international consensus has recently emerged that recognizes the right of people with drug related problems to receive the full range of treatment services regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, social and economic class and location. The UN Declaration on the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction recognized specifically that demand reduction should:

  • Aim at preventing the use of drugs and at reducing the adverse consequences of drug abuse
  • Provide for and encourage networks and coordinated participation of individuals at the community level both generally and in situations of particular risk, by virtue of, for example, their geographical location, economic conditions or relatively larege addicted population
  • Be sensitive to both culture and gender
  • Continue to develop a sustaining and supportive environment

This project will enhance both access, availability and quality of available treatment. The development of an evidenced based best practice document on community based treatment will provide the Network's with much-needed resources for meeting the challenge of limited technical capacity in many regions for diversified and effective drug treatment and rehabilitation services. 

Community based treatment services are designed to help clients develop the skills to manage their addiction and related problems in the community.  The services respond to a wide range of needs and ensure the best possible outcomes for people with addiction problems.   It includes services from detoxification through to aftercare and also involves the coordination of any number of non-specialist services that are needed to meet client's needs.   Community-based treatment services are available where and when they are needed. They can be delivered in a variety of settings including schools, addiction agencies, the client's home, or other service setting.

© 2006 UNODC