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10/06/2020 - General information

Dr. Marta Torrens, the only Spanish author involved in the United Nations and World Health Organisation guide to treating drug addiction

The Director of the Addictions Process Group within the Institute of Neuropsychiatry and Addictions at the Hospital del Mar (INAD) and a researcher at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) has participated in the drafting of this document, which analyses the different treatments and establishes the standards of use for the entire world. The guide was presented in March at the 63rd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs 2020, held at the United Nations Office in Vienna.

In March, the United Nations, through its Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the World Health Organisation (WHO), jointly approved the first International standards for the treatment of drug use disorders. This document was written with the assistance of leading experts in this field, including Dr. Marta Torrens, Director of the Addictions Process Group at INAD and coordinator of the Addictions Research Group at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM). Dr. Torrens is the only author from Spain.

Dr. Marta Torrens

The drafting of the guide began in 2009 and has involved an analysis of practices, services, devices and types of treatment at all levels of existing drug addictions, based on scientific evidence, and its application to the reality of each region. The first step, according to Dr. Torrens "was to recognise that addiction is a disease". The final document has been reviewed and validated by more than 1,200 professionals in the field from all over the world.

The goal was to establish evidence-based standards of treatment for substance addictions that would prevent ineffective and untested treatments and systems from being used to treat this disease. "It is not a question of everyone doing the same thing, but that everything that is done is based on scientific evidence and not on beliefs or opinions", explains the co-author of the publication. The document is intended to serve as a guide for both medical and political decision-makers who have to make choices in this area, adapting the proposed solutions to local realities.

The document is open access and can be consulted online. Work is now underway on an addendum that will focus on the medical and psychiatric comorbidities of drug addiction, for which Dr. Torrens will coordinate the aspects dedicated to psychiatric comorbidities, also known as dual pathology.

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