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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 360-365

Community management of substance use disorders: Past, present, and future

Department of Psychiatry, Drug De-addiction and Treatment Centre, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Debasish Basu
Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_314_21

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Substance use disorder (SUD) is a common entity in the Indian population, with a huge treatment gap of around 90%. Poor availability, accessibility and acceptability due to various reasons contribute to the treatment gap. The management of SUD at the community level can reduce this gap. Various private, government, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are the leading agencies to provide pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment at the community level in India. Historically, addiction treatment “camps” were efficient, cost-effective, and resource-saving community treatment approaches. Conventionally, there has been an attempt to integrate SUD treatment in primary healthcare, but this requires training and resource development at the community level. Outreach clinics, organized by tertiary care hospitals, help in training and research, besides catering to the community need for treatment. NGOs also help in the provision of treatment, awareness generation and capacity building at the community level. Currently, integration of screening and brief intervention with primary care is being tried in various community setups. This approach would be more effective with an efficient referral system. Telemedicine emerged as a new tool during the Coronavirus disease-19 pandemic. Telemedicine has been efficiently incorporated in the hub and spoke model and has been found to enhance the community treatment of difficult to reach patients with SUD. Various modifications in telemedicine help in more efficient diagnosis, decision-making, and treatment. Proper integration of multiple approaches can help in effective service delivery in a resource-limited setup in the community.

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