Longitudinal observation of a sample of german drug consumption facility clients

Norbert Scherbaum, Michael Specka, Fabrizio Schifano, Johannes Bombeck, Bärbel Marrziniak

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    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction: We aimed at investigating whether attendance of a drug consumption facility (DCF) was associated with both a reduction of drug-associated at-risk behavior and referral to the health care treatment system. Methods: A sample of 129 consecutive clients out of those 256 who self-referred to the DCF during the 13-month observation period (i.e., from November 2002 to December 2003) was interviewed both at baseline and at 1-, 2-, 3-, and 6-month follow-ups. Subjects were repeatedly assessed using a structured approach based on both the European Addiction Severity Index (EuropASI) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Suchtforschung und Therapie (DG-Sucht). Results: Typical DCF clients were males, in their early 30s, single, with no vocational training, and with a long history of injectable opiate addiction in the context of polydrug misuse. A recent discharge from prison was recorded in 37 of cases. Median length of DCF attendance was of 5 weeks; 22 of clients attended for less than 1 week. Although with respect to the period previous to recruitment at-risk behavior rates remained unchanged, by the 3-month follow-up 13 (10) clients out of those 129 who had initially enrolled had taken advantage of the DCF counseling opportunities. Some 37 of clients were referred on to start a methadone treatment following their DCF experience. Discussion: DCF attendance was not associated with reduction in at-risk behavior over time, but a need was here identified for additional intervention to be available in the DCF to address clients' psychosocial issues. Limitations of the present study include both issues related to the representativeness of the sample of clients here recruited and the lack of a control/comparison group.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)176-189
    Number of pages14
    JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2010


    • Drug consumption facility
    • Harm reduction
    • Intravenous drug abuse
    • Opiate addiction


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