According to the European Drug Report, DOA are the source of many chronic and acute health issues, with various degrees of severity. Documented chronic issues include dependence and a number of infectious diseases, while acute effects can culminate in drug overdose. The content and purity of any substance can widely vary nowadays in its availability to users, which creates further health risks and issues as well as new challenges to drug-related first responders.
The EMCDDA currently monitors 30 countries in Europe. Out of these, 14 have national drug strategies implemented to tackle DOA-related issues. The strategies use a wider range of approaches, among which environmental and universal education, selective prevention, legislation changes etc.
Since the approaches are responses to the changes in drug consumption or abuse, so are the methods and instruments these approaches employ meant to address the evolution of DOAs in the environment and population. Among the novel digital solutions, the use of computer-based technologies is on the rise. Drug and alcohol testing kits and a number of mobile devices for drug screening are now becoming the norm for law enforcement agencies as well as prisons, hospitals, and even private businesses of any kind. Portable analyzers are an extremely useful tool for the fast detection and immediate adequate response to DOA in urgent situations that could otherwise pose a threat to the public
Apart from prevention, at the other end is detection and usually treatment. While outpatient services dominate, that still includes primary healthcare and general mental healthcare centers, of course, equipped with adequately trained medical professionals. An estimated 1.2 mil people received treatment in all these settings in 2017. Out of these, 17% were referred by the criminal justice system. Approximately 973.000 patients received treatment in specialized treatment centers, while 64.000 were admitted to hospitals.