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Capabilities for handling complex substanceabuse problems and its relationship to thetreatment system: using the DDCAT instrumentto explore local treatment systems in Finland
National Institute for Health and Welfare Finland.
National Institute for Health and Welfare Finland.
2014 (English)In: Nordisk Alkohol- og narkotikatidsskrift (NAT), ISSN 1455-0725, E-ISSN 1458-6126, Vol. 31, no 1, 45-58 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND - Mental health problems in Finland have been the responsibility of the health care, and substance abuse problems have been handled within social care. In 2009, a national reform aiming at integrating mental health and substance abuse treatment systems (SATS) was launched. The critics of integration were concerned that it implies a medicalization and a narrowing of the social care goals. AIM - This article analyses to what extent integration of mental health and SATS affect the capability to treat co-occurring substance abuse and mental health problems. A secondary aim is to assess the utility of the DDCAT (Dual Diagnosis Capability in Addiction Treatment) instrument in a Finnish context. DATA - The study is based on group interviews, using DDCAT, in six Finnish municipalities, three with integrated and three with separate mental health care and SATS. The assessment pertains to the main outpatient unit in the city.

RESULTS - The dual diagnosis treatment capability did not depend on the system-level integration. Two municipalities where SATS was administratively separate from mental health care were able to achieve high dual diagnosis capability ratings while in one municipality with system level integration this capability was not very high. The DDCAT instrument puts an emphasis on medical staff and competence.

CONCLUSIONS - Strong, separate local SATS may adapt to the integration demands or needs by strengthening their psychiatric competence. This solution can result in treatment that is equally competent in treating mental health and substance abuse problems as integrated systems. The DDCAT instrument can be useful in a Finnish context to measure medical competence to handle dual diagnoses, irrespective of system solutions. For a balanced measurement, the instrument should be complemented with a section mapping competence to handle co-occurring social problems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 31, no 1, 45-58 p.
Keyword [en]
substance abuse treatment, integrated treatment, treatment systems, dual diagnoses, DDCAT, medicalization, Finland
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-112976DOI: 10.2478/nsad-2014-0004OAI: diva2:782193
Available from: 2015-01-20 Created: 2015-01-20 Last updated: 2015-02-23Bibliographically approved

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Stenius, Kerstin
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