ATLAS on Substance Use (ATLAS-SU): resources for the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders
The Atlas entitled "ATLAS on Resources for the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders" (ATLAS-SU) is a worldwide project conducted by the Management of Substance Abuse team in the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse to collect, compile and disseminate data on national resources for prevention and treatment of alcohol and drug-related problems in the world.
While some information exists on the prevalence and associated harms of substance use disorders, less is known about the amount and level of resources within the countries to tackle this burden. National resources to prevent and treat substance use disorders include but are not limited to the following: administrative and financial resources, health service resources such as treatment services and medications, human resources, policy and legislative resources, resources for the prevention of substance use disorders, and information resources such as presence of monitoring systems and other data collection tools.
In view of this, the World Health Organization's ATLAS-SU project assesses those resources at the national, regional and global level to highlight the distribution of resources for treatment and prevention of substance use disorders. Information is available in a written report. In addition, data of the Atlas survey will be accessible in a searchable online database where global, regional and country data are displayed and tables, charts as well as maps can be created for downloading.
The Atlas project has become a valuable resource on global information on societal responses to substance use and substance use disorders. It is an important tool for benchmarking and development of prevention and treatment services within countries and WHO is currently updating the 2010 Atlas-SU. The goal is to provide more extensive information on resources available worldwide for the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders. In April 2014 the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in collaboration with the WHO Regional offices distributed a survey to countries and an updated version of the Atlas is foreseen in 2015.
The Global Information System on Resources for the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders
The Global Information System on Resources for the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders maps and monitors health system resources at the country level to respond to the health problems due to substance use. Data from 147 countries (88% of the world population), collected in 2008, show that the main location for treatment of substance use disorders is the specialist substance abuse system, followed by the mental health system, the general health system, and primary care.