Technological innovation strategies in substance use disorders

30-03-2017

Drug disorders are complex social and health problems that affect millions of people in the EU. In the last two decades, we have witnessed an extraordinary growth in computer and mobile technologies available to the general public. Researchers in the field of drug addiction have started to exploit the growth of the internet and new technologies, and an increasing number of interventions designed to promote changes in substance use disorders are now available. The study includes an extensive critical literature review on the potential of new technologies for drug addiction management. A survey among European experts in the field of addiction was also carried out. New technologies have the potential to provide parallel/alternative instruments of information, prevention and treatment for substance use disorders. They have the capacity to reach populations that have not traditionally been in treatment. Despite encouraging progress, new technologies need to be evaluated with caution. Across research studies, there are methodological difficulties, such as a lack of common definitions, selection biases and inappropriate research designs, which require further investigation. To date, new technologies have the potential to affect, and perhaps deeply transform, existing models of health care delivery in the field of addiction.

Drug disorders are complex social and health problems that affect millions of people in the EU. In the last two decades, we have witnessed an extraordinary growth in computer and mobile technologies available to the general public. Researchers in the field of drug addiction have started to exploit the growth of the internet and new technologies, and an increasing number of interventions designed to promote changes in substance use disorders are now available. The study includes an extensive critical literature review on the potential of new technologies for drug addiction management. A survey among European experts in the field of addiction was also carried out. New technologies have the potential to provide parallel/alternative instruments of information, prevention and treatment for substance use disorders. They have the capacity to reach populations that have not traditionally been in treatment. Despite encouraging progress, new technologies need to be evaluated with caution. Across research studies, there are methodological difficulties, such as a lack of common definitions, selection biases and inappropriate research designs, which require further investigation. To date, new technologies have the potential to affect, and perhaps deeply transform, existing models of health care delivery in the field of addiction.

External author

Giovanni Esposito, European Brain Council (EBC): Chapter 6 (drawing up of the questionnaire, gathering of responses, analyse of the results and writing the report).