rustlf-logo 75x67RUStelefonen 08588 is the national drug helpline in Norway. The helpline is open every day from 11:00 to 19:00.

Aims and objectives
RUStelefonen was established to provide the public with an information and counselling service regarding alcohol, drugs and substance abuse.

The service has three objectives:
1. Provide the public with information about alcohol and drugs.
2. Provide the public with an overview of the different services dealing with treatment of substance abuse.
3. Provide the public with counseling regarding substance abuse.

Target group
Youth experimenting with drugs and their parents, are the main target group of the service. The service is, however, open to everyone with a concern about alcohol, drugs and substance abuse, including professionals.

Brief history

The Norwegian national drug helpline, RUStelefonen, was initiated by the Minister of Health and Care Services. The Directorate of Health and Social Affairs gave the City of Oslo’s Alcohol and Drug Addiction Service the responsibility to establish and host the service.

RUStelefonen was officially opened by the Minister of Health and Care Services, Ingjerd Schou, on the 6th of December 2002.

Organization, administration and management
The service is financed by The Directorate of Health and administrated by the Agency for Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services.

Five counsellors are associated with the national drug helpline. These are divided into four full time and one part time positions. There are always two counsellors operating the service together, except during weekends where only one person is on duty.

When you call the national drug helpline you shall be met by professional counsellors who take the caller’s concern seriously, and are experienced with guiding people through a crisis. All the counsellors have long experience with working with drug related problems.

In addition to providing the caller with information about alcohol and drugs, and suggesting appropriate services for treatment of substance abuse, the counsellors practice the «professional conversation». The counsellors’ role is not to judge or moralize, but, by listening and asking the right questions, unveiling the solutions which best suits the caller’s situation.

Verification of information
To make sure the information passed on to the public is correct and up to date, the national drug helpline seeks the assistance of The Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s Division of Forensic Toxicology and Drug Abuse in questions concerning facts about drugs and substance abuse, and The Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research, which provides a national database for services dealing with treatment of substance abuse.

Data collection and caller-statistics
It is important for the national drug helpline to have good methods of data collection. This will provide answers regarding whether we reach our objectives, which drugs the public is most concerned about et cetera. The national drug helpline also provides data for several other drug-use monitoring projects.

RUStelefonen is a member of FESAT, the European foundation of drug helplines.