Published: 30 March 2021
Evidence review of drug treatment services for people who are homeless and use drugs
People who are homeless have complex and challenging lives. They tend to have worse physical and mental health, and are more likely to report problem substance use, than the general population. Substance use is more prevalent among people who are homeless than in the general population, and providing support services and drug treatment in a holistic way for this population should be a priority. Increasing the provision of evidence-based support may lead to improvements in health, well-being, and quality of life, and to a reduction in costs to healthcare and wider public services. The Irish National Drugs Strategy aims to improve access to treatment services for people who are homeless who use drugs and have complex needs.
On behalf of the Department of Health, the Health Research Board commissioned this report to systematically review and synthesise the international evidence on the efficacy of interventions designed to serve this population. This synthesis will inform the development of policies regarding the provision of services to people who are homeless. This report comprises two parts: the first part presents a description of the current trends relating to drug use and of the current services in Ireland in primary care, mental health, and drug treatment settings for people who are homeless who use drugs; the second part is an integrative review of the international research evidence regarding interventions aiming to address the needs of this population.