Better Treatment for Ageing Drug User


The main objective of the project is to provide adult trainers and organisations in the drug help system, in geriatric institutions and local governments with tools and models of good practice, which create adult learning opportunities for the establishment and improvement of services for ageing drug user.

High priority is given to involve drug user and their representatives in the development and implementation of project results.

The situation

Because of demographic developments of the aging population in almost all countries of the European Union, social and health structures are in an ongoing process of adapting adequate responses to this challenge. Dependency of psychoactive substances, however, still are associated with young people.

It is evident that the total number and the proportion of older chronic, problematic drug users in Europe have increased significantly over the last decades. Older drug users are likely to suffer from the negative social consequences of decades of drug use. Studies report that older drug users are often socially excluded and isolated from their family, friends and social networks. (Cassar et al., 2009; Nezet et al., 2009).”

The available information suggests that specialised treatment and care programmes for older drug users are rare in Europe. Concerns have been voiced that current treatment and care services may be ill-equipped to respond adequately to the needs of older drug users and that certain specific services may be required (e.g. see Beynon, 2009).

A survey of the Frankfurt University of Applied Science (Lebensweise und Gesundheitsförderung von älteren Drogenabhängigen im Rhein-Main Gebiet, Stöver el al, 2012) confirms these assumptions in detail for a particular region and address the need of increased attention: “The increase of older drug addicts is increasingly important for assistance systems such as addiction and support services – staff of appropriate institutions notice the changes in the age structure of their clientele and face every day problems to refer older drug users to appropriate care and services (Condrobs e.V., 2009).

The previous Leonardo Da Vinci project ‘Sucht im Alter’ conducted by the main applicant ‘Jugend an Drogenhëllef”, Luxemburg 2013 – 2015) came to similar results and already identified needs and crucial response structures for service provider.

Consequently, treatment and support has to follow these changing needs. The increasing speed of aging in this group adds to this problem and makes fast solutions even more important.


  • Adult trainers and organisations in the drug help system, in geriatric institutions and local governments.
  • Aging drug user and it’s representatives.


Assessment of existing policies and services for ageing drug users in Europe. The report will provide social service and healthcare providers, adult trainers, policy makers and higher education institutions with information about the demographical situation in each country, collect data on demographical data of the population of drug use, assess the legal and health and social system conditions for this population group to access specific services and identify methods and services for aging drug users.

The Good Practice Collection

The Good Practice Collection will  Identify and collect best practice models for effective services for ageing drug users (outpatient and inpatient) and models of best practices for a good collaboration of drug and geriatric services.

I will provide social service providers, adult trainers, policy makers and higher education institutions with inspiring models of good practice and stimulate the development and implementation of inclusive services for aging drug users.


The toolbox will provide social service providers, adult trainers, policy makers and higher education institutions with tools and guidance to develop, implement or improve services for aging drug users.


The training will be based on the content and the structure of the toolbox  and the findings of the  assessments and supporting evidence and policy analysis. The overall training curriculum will function as model and example for national training curricula, so other training organisations can utilise the training as a whole or use specific components for training purposes.

The training content will mainly be based on the elements and information of the toolbox and will include a broad range of topics, didactic exercises, links and resources. Training will be designed for a 5 day course and validated during a training event (European summer school).

Target groups to receive the training are staff of drug addiction services, geriatric institutions and policy maker. Also representatives of the final target group – aging drug users – will be invited to participate.

More information will be provided in time before the training will be launched in 2018.

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