BeTrAD: Better treatment for older drug users - Erasmus+ (Finished in 2019)

As part of the European Erasmus+ program, the BeTrAD (Better Treatment for Aging Drug Users) project aims to provide professionals and organizations working in the field of drug addiction, geriatric institutions, and local administrations with tools and models of good practices, in order to offer opportunities to create and improve services for elderly drug users.

The progressive aging of the population in most European Union countries means that social and health structures are undergoing a continuous process of adaptation to this issue; however, substance dependence is still associated with the youth.

“It is evident that the total number and proportion of people with drug dependence, or associated problems, have increased over the past decades. Elderly drug users are more prone to suffer the negative social consequences of prolonged drug use. Thus, studies have been conducted showing that elderly drug users are often socially excluded and isolated by family, friends, and support networks.” (Casar et al., 2009; Nezet, et al. 2009).

Currently, however, there are few treatments or specialized care programs specifically aimed at older drug users, and those that exist are not prepared to adequately respond to the needs of this group; therefore, specific services must be implemented. Indeed, treatment and care must be adapted to the current trend, namely, the accelerated aging of drug users, and provide a rapid response.

Professionals in drug addiction care services have observed these changes in the age of users and must face the daily problems that involve referring older users to appropriate care services.

Specifically, within the project, the following actions have been developed:

  1. The evaluation of existing policies and services aimed at older drug users in Europe. This analysis provides:
  • Information on the demographic situation of each country, with demographic data and prevalence on elderly drug users.
  • An evaluation of the conditions of access to specific services, to legal, social, and health systems for the aging drug-using population.
  • The identification of current programs and services aimed at elderly drug users.
  1. A compilation of good practices, aimed at identifying and collecting examples of best practices found in specific care services for elderly drug dependents, as well as models of good practices in collaboration between geriatric resources and drug addiction care. This compilation can be found in the good practice guide, available both digitally and in print, which provides social and health services professionals, administrations, and academic institutions with a set of tools to guide the development, implementation, and improvement of services aimed at elderly drug users.
  2. A Toolbox, one of the most important intellectual products of the European BeTrAD project, specifically coordinated and led by the team of the Fundación Salud y Comunidad. It incorporates the findings and conclusions of all the project processes. It provides tools and guidance for developing, implementing, and improving services for elderly drug users. These tools are aimed at social service providers, professional training agencies, policymakers, and higher education institutions.
  3. A Training Model, based on the content and structure of the good practice guide and the results obtained from the evaluation, scientific evidence, and policy analysis. The designed training curriculum will serve as a model for conducting national-level training, and for other organizations to adopt or extract specific parts for training purposes.
  4. National Reports of the participating countries: Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Spain. These reports aim to provide an overview of the country’s drug dependency policies concerning the elderly, along with a compilation of their practices and recommendations in this area.

This project has been funded with the support of the Erasmus+ Program of the European Commission, which selected it as an outstanding example of good practices with excellent results and a source of inspiration for others.

Consult the National Report of Spain here. The BeTrAD project consortium has been formed by five European Union countries and seven partner entities:


Teléfono: 93 244 05 70 (Ext. 221)
Personas de contacto: Gustavo Muñoz León