The Kurage Program is a method of treatment in which heroin abusers receive help in gradually creating a new existence without drugs. The program includes the use of the drug Subutex in combination with well-developed social and psychological support.

“What distinguishes the Kurage Program from other forms of treatment is precisely its fortunate combination of a medical preparation and psychosocial help. Subutex eliminates the craving for the drug and has fewer side effects than other preparations. This provides participants with a “respite” that enables them to set up a functioning daily life,” says Bengt G Eriksson, associate professor of social work at Karlstad University and director of IKU.

For two years he and his project assistant Lena Ede have followed a group of young abusers of heroin in Karlstad and their treatment in the Kurage Program. A crucial aspect of the program is for the abusers to receive help in creating a new life in their home community. The results show that the Kurage Program contributes to an improvement of the quality of life among participants. And perhaps even more important: they stick with the program.

“It’s important to remember that this work takes time. What is central is that the participants not drop out of the program but rather stick with it and piece together their existence. This is exactly what the Kurage Program has managed to do,” says Lena Ede.

The Kurage Program is a collaborative effort involving the social work services in the municipality of Karlstad and the County Council’s out-patient psychiatry scheme. The assessment is titled “Drug-assisted psychosocial treatment of heroin abuse.” Copies (in Swedish) can be ordered from IKU.

The Institute for Quality and Developmental Work, IKU, is a collaborative body set up by Karlstad University and social care authorities in the province of Värmland. The prime mission of the Institute is to develop knowledge to create conditions in which the social work authorities will be better equipped to meet the needs of vulnerable groups in society.

Reports published by IKU in the last year include studies of the input from relatives in the care of the elderly and functionally impaired, a telephone hotline for people in mental crisis, and rehabilitation in care for the elderly and functionally impaired. The researchers have also evaluated a project offering consumer advice in the towns of Hagfors and Munkfors, a group-living home in Karlstad, and a project titled Human Technology dealing with mental functional impairment and aids.

For more information, please contact Bengt G Eriksson, phone: +46 54-700 24 17 or cell phone: +46 70-688 51 72, e-mail: Bengt.G.Eriksson@kau.se or
Lena Ede, phone: +46 54-700 19 12 or cell phone: +46 73-390 22 95, e-mail: Lena.Ede@kau.se