A review of substance use disorder treatment in developing world communities

Jasleen Salwan, Craig L. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background As global health endeavors increasingly encompass efforts to prevent and treat mental illness in the developing world, it is important to build a base of knowledge of existing treatment models and experimental outcomes. Objective This article reviews the current literature on substance use disorder treatment in countries with a high, medium, or low Human Development Index according to the 2011 United Nations Development Programme Report. Methods We searched the databases PubMed, PsycINFO, and Global Health using search terms such as substance abuse treatment developing countries, addiction developing nations, and alcohol abuse developing countries. Opinion pieces and articles published before 1994 were excluded. Thirty relevant articles (excluding those reviewed for background information) were identified. Findings Comprehensive overviews of treatment models were markedly absent from the current literature. However, existing research highlights specific areas of need, which may serve as a guide for future research and program development. Conclusions In light of the evident need for treatment of substance use disorder in developing countries, future research would do well to blend inquiry with practice. Although further investigation is needed to fully understand the specific needs of developing world populations, assisting those populations should be a primary goal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Global Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2014


  • addiction treatment
  • drug abuse treatment
  • global mental health
  • rehabilitation
  • substance use disorder


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