Thessaloniki Detox Department

Psychiatric Hospital of Thessaloniki – Addictions department-Ianos

Hospital address: Lagada 196, Stavroupoli, 54629, Thessaloniki, Greece

Hospital website:

Addiction Treatment in Greece has been defined by long-term (up to three years), integrated, luxurious, drug-free programmes functioning according to strict conceptual models and powerful theoretical philosophies, some confrontational, some non-confrontational.

Harm Reduction and Substitution Treatment have had a hard time gaining acceptance among staff and patients. Substitution programmes offer short-, medium-, and long term maintenance.

Our programme is one of the four largest services in the country, the only one that combines abstinence orientation and short-term medication/ substitution. It is part of the Psychiatric Hospital of Thessaloniki in the North of Greece. We have a very close collaboration with all other programmes (Substitution or Drug free) and show an enormous flexibility regarding client care in cooperation with other services.

It is an integrated, long term programme that includes a network of services, trying to cover as many needs as possible for different populations, offering a therapeutic continuum through a chain of interrelated units: Information, Counseling, Support, Education, Treatment.

The Programme follows a person-centred, non-judjemental, tolerant, accepting approach: our GOAL is to serve the client and not an ideology, a theory or a programme-concept, to engage AND keep clients in treatment.

Our focus is on appreciating every little change in the clients, regarding all aspects of their lifes and not abstinence alone. We don’t “punish” them for relapsing. Our concern is for them to learn how to cope with stressful life events, become self-effective, earn satisfaction from success, deal with failure, frustration and disappointment, take responsibilities, accept consequences of their choices, become autonomous.

The total number of patients attending our programme is about 200, 54 hospitalised and another 150 in outpatient care.

Nearly all of 80 staff members have attended an MI workshop at one point or another, some have pursued further training. This extensive training reflects in the allround change in attitude, behaviour and expectations of staff towards patients.

Substitutes are only given for detoxification in the Detox Unit for a limited amount of time. Patients may receive any other medication (antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilisers, etc) in all units, at all stages.

Zero Tolerance for drug use is exercised only at the residential units (Therapeutic Community and Detoxification Unit), much more tolerant at the outpatient units where we try to process use and relapse.

Our Programme is involved in training Psychiatry residents, 51 so far for 3-6 months, as well as other health care professionals.

We also maintain a strong research collaboration with the ARISTOTLE University of Thessaloniki.


1. Counseling Station/ Community Centre:

Provides information and directs patients according to their request and demands to further treatment. Attempt to engage them to treatment.

2. Detoxification Unit:

The Detoxification Unit, founded in 1994, remains the only single Unit of its kind in Greece. It’s a residential facility with 20 beds, 21 days hospitalisation. There are no limitations concerning admission, immediate access is achieved through the Counseling Station. It provides pharmacological and psychosocial support to users of psychoactive substances (mainly opioids, benzodiazepines, cocaine etc). Services offered include individual and group psychotherapy, psycho-educational groups, relapse prevention groups, physical education, motivational interviewing, social services, medical and psychiatric assessment. Motivation, engagement, preparation and immediate transfer to further treatment are our priority in order to secure retention and continuation of treatment.

Only about 50% of the total admissions are from Thessaloniki, the rest are from all parts of the country.

Completion rate was 61.34% in 2016 and remains (for the last 10 years) above the european and american average completion rates for Detoxification Units (which is around 50% but for less days of hospitalisation).

Continuation of treatment to the next stage (Therapeutic Community or any Outpatient Unit in our or  other Programmes) is well over 90% for those completing the 21 days of treatment in the Detox Unit.

3. Residential Therapeutic Community:

9 months, at a beautiful camping site 35 km away from Thessaloniki, 800 m high on a hill.  Psychotherapy, occupational therapy (we grow biological fruit and vegetables in a green house and in the fields), sports (footbal, gym, mountain-walking, climbing, cycling), art therapy, drama therapy, photo lab, psychoeducation. Attempt to restructure personality, behaviour and life-style.

4. Social Rehabilitation Unit:

outpatient, 2 years, psychotherapy. Strong emphasis on providing the skills to find a job.

Attempt for social, occupational, personal reintegration.

5. Unit for promoting Occupation

Learning how to write a CV, how to conduct a job research, how to apply, simulation of interviews, contact to services offering training.

6. Outpatient Unit:

2 years, for patients with better support systems (students, married with children, professionals), for other than opioids (Cannabis, cocaine or recreational drugs) users.

7. Women’s unit:

2 years, outpatient, addresses women with specific problems (prostitution, passive-depended women, with children etc). We can also accommodate the children for the few hours they have to attend.

8. Unit for Pathological Internet Use for Adults

9. Dual Diagnosis Unit:

outpatient, no time limitations, very tolerant on relapse, attending both to psychiatric problem and substance abuse.

Attempt to make patients understand the complicated interrelationships between substance use and psychiatric disorder and achieve treatment/medication compliance and abstinence from drugs.

10. Family Support and Counseling

11. School

Attendees receive a standard certificate identical to the one from other schools, staff and institution belong to the Ministry of Health

12. Drop-In-Easy Access- Day Care Unit

Length of the programme:

2-4 weeks

Periods available:

February to July and August to January

Language requirements:

English: Advanced

Language: The candidate must speak English sufficiently. All communication in the Dept is made in Greek, but most staff speak good English and will be happy to translate for the candidate.

Other requirements:

VISA needed:

Not needed for most European countries, please check individually.

Travel and health insurance needed:

Highly recommended


No help with accommodation is provided, see useful websites below.

Useful websites:

Local coordinator:

Agoroula Georgiadi