BelPEP is a multidisciplinary platform consisting of 3 expert working groups which aims to promote the rational use of psychotropics in Belgium. A comprehensive vision paper provided an overview of the history, status, context, various problems and priorities of the platform.
More information on the comprehensive vision paper: www.health.belgium.be
Below is a brief list of some of the actions that have already been taken:
- Various tools have been developed to support professionals in their practice. For example, two websites were set up to collect recent scientific information:
- A website on the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD (www.trajet-tdah.be).
- A website related to the proper prescription of sleep medications and sedatives (www.slaapenkalmeermiddelen-hulpmiddelenboek.be).
- Online training (www.e-learninghealth.be) in the LOKs is provided to GPs on the rational use of benzodiazepines, but also on the best ways to manage depression. (https://www.domusmedica.be/vorming for the Dutch-speaking offering, https://dmgulb.be/formation-specifique/ for the French-speaking offering).
 Local quality group: a group of doctors or pharmacist-biologists who share and critically evaluate their medical practice in order to improve the quality of care.
Despite the daily efforts of care providers and the intense efforts of the Judiciary, drug and medication use in Belgian prisons remains high. The situation is not healthy in any sense of the word. Indeed, drug use entails various health risks and can place significant pressure on prison security. According to recent international survey studies, an estimated 20 to 45 percent of all prisoners use illegal drugs in prison, with very similar figures in Belgium.
As such, at the Interministerial Conference on Public Health on 20 November 2017, the Federal Minister of Health proposed the development of an adapted drug assistance model for prisoners. To this end, pilot projects were launched in December 2017 in the prisons of Sint-Gillis/ Berkendael, Hasselt and Lantin. Experience gained on the ground will be used to develop a broad assistance model that includes all steps, from screening and early detection to motivational discussions and treatment.
In each of the three prisons, additional care staff have been recruited and the existing care and prison staff have received additional training, so that prisoners with a drug problem can receive more personalised support. Furthermore, inmates are now systematically screened for drug use upon arrival, so that they can be guided to the right help more quickly if necessary. The relevant care workers inside and outside the prison walls are also in close contact with each other, which helps to ensure the continuity of care.
Three non-profit organisations specialised in drug assistance provide support on the ground: iCare (Sint-Gillis/Berkendael), CAD Limburg (Hasselt) and Fédito Wallonne (Lantin).
Nine crisis units each with 4 beds accommodate patients in crisis for a limited period of 5 days. An intensive and multidisciplinary team (11 FTE) cares for around 3,500 patients annually. A specific feature of this project is that the follow-up is done by case management, and that there is a certain affinity with the target group of patients who use psychoactive substances.
TDI is the registration of treatment questions relating to alcohol abuse or dependence on illegal drugs. Every year, around 115 hospitals register 20 epidemiological variables. This mandatory registration (RD 15/10/15) is organised within a European framework (EMCDDA) and is managed by Sciensano. The funding for this was included in the Budget for Financial Resources (BFR).
More information regarding this project: workspaces.wiv-isp.be