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Table 1 Inclusion and exclusion criteria

From: Community-based psychosocial substance use disorder interventions in low-and-middle-income countries: a narrative literature review

Inclusion criteria item




Persons aged 16–65 in LMICs identified as having a psychoactive substance use disorder due to alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulants, or opiate use, with or without formal diagnosis

Substance users aged 16–65 considered to be at-risk for SUDs

Alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulant and opiate use have a greater correlation with treatment entry and other mental disorders [6, 21]

Considering the lack of a sufficiently trained and qualified mental health workforce in LMICs, and considering that a key focus in LMICs is the delivery of mental health services by non-specialized community workers, placing limits on the source of diagnoses or diagnostic standard would limit the relevance of this review and likely reduce the number of eligible studies


Community-based treatment and/or indicated prevention interventions with a psychosocial component, such as:

Assertive community treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), brief interventions, indicated prevention interventions, interpersonal therapy, self-help groups, family therapy, motivational interviewing, and/or relapse prevention

Interventions delivered in primary care settings such as primary health care centers or general hospital out-patient services, mental health centers (including day care centers), self-help group settings, social/housing services and vocational support services

The development of SUDs involves complex “intrapersonal, inter-personal and broader systems-level processes” which pharmacological interventions, hospital-based interventions and/or campaigns alone do not sufficiently address [27]

The recommended good practice for the treatment of SUDs is a biopsychosocial approach, which considers “genetic, psychological, social, economic, [and] political factors” [26, 28]

This study sought to explore the influence of context-specific factors on the development, implementation and outcomes of SUD interventions in LMICs;

There is a high treatment gap for SUDs in community and rural settings;

A significant portion of the SUD population (i.e. harmful users) receive insufficient or no care, such populations would benefit from lower intensity interventions and indicated prevention interventions which may be delivered in primary care settings and in the community

Comparisons and outcomes

All reported outcomes

To ensure that the greatest variety of interventions were included, which is of relevance for this review as it sought to identify and describe the characteristics of community-based SUD interventions

Study design

Qualitative, mixed-methods, and quantitative studies such as descriptive studies, research case studies, pre-post trials, RCTs and evaluation studies

The data relevant to this review’s aims may be obtained from various study designs, placing limits on the types of studies would limit the relevance of this review


English-language articles published in academic journals that follow a peer-review publication process

The timeline for this review was restricted; broadening the criteria to include grey literature would not be feasible

Although this review did not assess risk of bias or evidence quality, it did seek to identify ethically conducted research studies that have gone through a peer-review publication process (required for publication in peer-reviewed journals)

Publication date


Due to the infancy of the field and relatively recent calls for action on matters relating to the focus of this review [2, 31, 59]