Drug problems and mental disorders

DrugDrug.Photo: Sara Johannessen / SCANPIX

6,000 Norwegians have extensive drug problems in combination with mental disorders

A new survey shows that 6,000 people have major drug problems in combination with mental disorders. They need treatment where they live, experts believe.


Lars Lien, head of the National Center for Drug Abuse and Psychiatric Disorder (ROP), believes it is one of the most difficult groups for the welfare state to take care of.

– They have triple or quadruple of all problems. They die 20 to 35 years earlier than the rest of the population. They have almost no quality of life. The suicide rates are higher. The risk of being exposed to violence is higher.

They are faring terribly, says Lien to Stavanger Aftenblad, who is featuring a comprehensive report series surrounding problems.

A survey by Health Stavanger shows that about 20,000 recipients of welfare services have both a substance abuse problem and a mental disorder. 6,000 of those are in the high risk group.

An expert panel set up by the Norwegian Board of Health published an alarming report regarding this group in January.

– The key is to give these people treatment where they live. We know they need offers from a team. They do not have the opportunity to perform slalom between all possible public bodies, says Lien, who was a member of the expert panel.

– An important reason for them ending between a rock and a hard place is that the help system in Norway is divided into two: treatment for substance abuse and treatment for mental disorders, he says.


©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today