For drug abuse, programs for treatment of addiction and the activities of the only in hospital for treatment of drug addiction and alcoholism agency in Sofia FOCUS News Agency spoke with Associate Professor Sonya Toteva - Director of State Psychiatric Hospital for treatment of drug addiction and alcoholism
FOCUS: What part of Bulgaria's population are drug addicted?
Sonya Toteva: There are different categories of addicts. Around 30,000 are those who should be treated and who have serious problems with drug use.
FOCUS:What programs for treatment of drug addiction are carried out in the hospital?
Sonya Toteva:There is a detoxification program, which lasts about two weeks and during that time the patient is given drugs that suppress the abstinence caused by drug-related substance. There is a medium-term program that is four months. During that program patients did not receive medication and undergo entertaining and occupational therapists, work closely with a psychologist and a social worker, do exercises, and this is psychosocial rehabilitation.
FOCUS:What is the average number of people a year that come into these programs?
Sonya Toteva:About 200 people. In recent years, we have a reduction in the number of patients because most of them turn to Methadone treatment as before about three - four years ago we had a very long list of waiting, especially for rehabilitation. Now most of them are waiting for Methadone treatment. At the hospital we have free methadone program for 300 people.
FOCUS: What exactly is this Methadone treatment?
Sonya Toteva:This is a maintenance program, during which the patient is given methadone. It replaces the taking of drugs.
FOCUS: What part of them manage to overcome addiction?
Sonya Toteva: Remission moves in broad borders, somewhere around 20 - 30% managed to tackle with the problem for long-term period.
FOCUS: To what drug are the most of your patients addicted?
Sonya Toteva: Most part of them are dependent on heroin. In recent years amphetamines and cocaine come to the fore. There is also a large black market for Methadone, and who use it, get addicted to it, but it is an artifact of methadone programs, so we must take serious measures.
FOCUS: Which of the drug addictions are most difficult for treatment?
Sonya Toteva: Dependence on psychoactive substances are very difficult to treat and heroin dependence. There are very serious addiction to benzodiazepine and rivotril and it is difficult to treat.
FOCUS: Doest the State Psychiatric Hospital collaborate with other organizations - Bulgarian or foreign, and do you work on any projects?
Sonya Toteva: Yes, the last three years we have been working on European programs and they are mainly for deinstitutionalization and psychosocial rehabilitation. Having now successfully completed the second project and will apply for third. This allows introducing new programs to keep patients longer to get a serious psychosocial rehabilitation. Criterion for efficiency in the recent projects was finding a job and we had about 80% efficiency.