Prague, Nov 27 (CTK) – Addiction treatment annually incurs costs of 1.5 billion crowns from the public health insurance and further costs are linked with its social impacts and prevention schemes, Jindrich Voboril, national anti-drug coordinator, told CTK in an interview.

At least half a million of Czechs suffer from serious addiction, he said.

“The estimates, however, also reveal that most money does not go to specialised treatment, but often to individual examinations,” Voboril said.

Approximately 300 million crowns annually go to bed facilities for alcohol addicts and approximately 200 million crowns go to laboratories processing test results, he said.

Although the public health insurance funds are sufficient, they are not targeted well enough, he said.

The reform of psychiatric care could help if its authors listened to addiction treatment experts, he added.

“There could be a better way of analysing the means and perhaps reducing them to the most necessary activities, which could even bring savings,” Voboril said.

In 2016, there were 7,200 patients in the National Register of Drug Users. More than one fourth of them were being treated due to alcohol addiction, three percent due to gambling.

In all types of addictions, one third of the clients were women. As regards gambling, however, less than one tenth were female clients. In case of addictions to sleeping pills and sedatives, almost half of the clients were women.

There are about 150,000 problematic alcohol users in the Czech Republic and another 600,000 are at risk, Voboril said, adding that problematic users are those who use a drug several times a week in higher or increasing doses.

There are about 100,000 gamblers, of which 40,000 are problematic users of illegal drugs.

There are some 2.2 million of daily smokers.

Sometimes more addictions can be found simultaneously.

Addiction is a combination of health, social and psychological difficulties, Voboril said.

“Up to half of the problematic drug users could be diagnosed as people with a primary psychiatric diagnose, which precedes the diagnose of addiction,” he said.

About 40 percent of the addicts are from an unsuitable social environment.

According to Voboril, it has been proven that neither prohibition nor a completely free market worked, but partial restrictions are most effective.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends to work more with the pricing. It is not about people not using drugs, but about them considering how much to use,” he added.

Voboril has held the post of the national anti-drug coordinator since 2010. He is also the deputy chairman of the government’s Council for Anti-Drug Policy Coordination and head of the Government Office anti-drug policy section.