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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 268-275

Perspectives on alcohol and substance abuse in refugee settings: lessons from the field

1 clinical psychologist with a background in public health and a PhD in biomedical sciences. He is a regular consultant for international organization and UN agencies
2 senior public health officer with UNHCR in Geneva

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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In refugee settings, alcohol and other psychoactive substances can potentiate many underlying problems and contribute to the erosion of social relations and community structure. Interventions to minimise harmful use of alcohol and other psychoactive substances can lead to positive changes, but must be customised to the specific needs of each setting. Rapid assessments with appropriate tools, understanding the situation, partnership with workers and refugees, as well as inclusive approaches are all essential. Based on field experience in two refugee camps, these elements are discussed and recommendations are proposed for integrated interventions for alcohol and psychoactive substances.

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