Main topic of the last euro net network conference was the problem of drug use in the elderly. Practical approaches at European level in prevention and treatment were shared.
The conference took place in Oslo at 28.11.2017. Eleven of 17 euro net members were able to participate.
The discussion about the drug use in the elderly showed that it is a problem Europe-wide. Specific care plans and prevention methods are necessary. Best practices from Catalonia, Belgium and Germany have shown, that in prevention work for elderly people, we don’t have to start from scratch.
There are two different target groups:
– Seniors (60+) with problematic substance use
– Aging drug users
Seniors with problematic substance use often have got a missing daily structure. They want to remain active and to be needed. Health complains, medications and further circumstances often follow.
For this target group the only thing that matters is the person, not the substance. It is very important to keep this people socialy included – even after the working time. Different examples from the Netherlands and Finland were very innovative, e.g. senior-TV and video chats for “common” meals.
The risk to die because of drug abuse has been reduced the last decades. Especially because of harm reduction like syringe exchange and methadone programmes. But how to deal with elderly and addicted people, who do not fit to common nursing homes? Germany presented an example for long-term home prospect for aging and chronic drug addicted people. Aim of this institution is not to become the inhabitants clean and sober, top of the line for them would be to be substituted in a correct way.
All participants agreed that it is important to have a look at these target groups and to share best practices. It could be conducive to develop a project proposal to prove effective methods on European level.