Germany

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Drug Policy
  • In 2012, the National Strategy on Drug and Addiction Policy was adopted by the Federal Cabinet as an ongoing strategy with no specific end date.
  • It aims to help individuals avoid or reduce their consumption
    of licit substances (alcohol, tobacco and psychotropic pharmaceuticals) and illicit substances, as well as addictive behaviours (e.g. pathological gambling)
  • The strategy has four main tenets: (i) prevention; (ii) counselling, treatment and help in overcoming addiction; (iii) harm reduction measures; and (iv) supply reduction.
  • It covers: (i) alcohol; (ii) tobacco; (iii) prescription drug addiction and prescription drug abuse; (iv) pathological gambling; (v) online/media addiction; and (vi) illegal drugs.
Treatment Services
  • The scope of available treatments ranges from low-threshold contacts and counselling services to intensive treatment and therapy in specialised inpatient facilities.
  • There are special guidelines for the treatment of opioid dependency, as well as psychological and behavioural problems linked with the use of cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA and hallucinogens.
  • Recently developed guidelines focus on the treatment of addiction among elderly people and the treatment of methamphetamine-related disorders.
  • Family doctors play a special role, often acting as the first point of contact for drug users and at-risk individuals.
  • Addiction counselling and treatment centres, psychiatric outpatient institutes, facilities for integration support and outpatient and inpatient therapy facilities are also integral to the substance use support system.
  • Most treatment facilities are provided free of charge by NGOs.
  • Most drug treatment is administered in centres and institutions dealing with dependence more generally. That said, there are specific treatment units for illicit drug users.
  • During integration and aftercare phase, a wide range of services relating to employment, housing and reintegration into society are provided.
  • Most treatment and caring for drug users is carried out in outpatient settings.
Prevention Services
  • Prevention interventions encompass a wide range of complementary approaches.
  • Environmental and universal strategies target entire populations, while selective prevention targets vulnerable groups that may be at greater risk of developing drug use problems. Indicated prevention focuses on at-risk individuals.
  • Environmental prevention measures include the restriction on smoking in public places and banning sales of tobacco products and alcohol to minors, amongst others.
  • School-based prevention activities mostly address alcohol, tobacco and cannabis consumption. These programmes provide information and promote life skills, encouraging students to think critically about substance use and to develop personal values.
  • Family prevention programmes aim to increase parenting skills, consolidate the protective role played by the family and strengthen the basic life skills of the children.
  • Indicated prevention programmes target children and adolescents with behavioural disorders, as well as children in families affected by drug dependency.
  • There has been progress made in designing and providing brief, web-based interventions for high-risk adolescents, including fully automated formats and those with therapeutic interactions communicated via online chat.