Helping Addicts in Romania

RomaniaCastle Craig Hospital recently launched a new website in the Romanian language: www.castlecraig.ro

Alcohol & drug addiction in Romania

Romania is one of the poorest members of the European Union and there is a comprehensive lack of awareness of addiction treatment, as well as high levels of stigma against alcoholics and drug addicts. Few people in Romania are aware of the fact that addiction is a disease and that there exists treatment programmes that do actually work.

The patterns of addiction are very different in Romania as compared to the UK. Cocaine is rare and cannabis is used less frequently than in Western Europe. Heroin is the drug of choice for the poorest-of-the-poor in Bucharest, Romania’s capital city of two million souls, and alcoholism is common in the villages where more than a third of the population lives in poverty. By far the most popular drugs are Legal Highs (Romanians call them “etnobotanice”). Unfortunately Legal Highs are also the most dangerous drugs on the market, and medics complain that they have no idea what they contain. 

Rehab & healthcare in Romania

Rupert Wolfe Murray, Castle Craig’s representative in Central and Eastern Europe, says “most people in Romania can’t afford private health care treatment in Western Europe. But we get a lot of calls asking for help and we try and help everyone by referring them to local therapists or to the new AA groups that are being set up around the country.”

Castle Craig’s new Romanian website

The Romanian website looks similar to the UK one as it uses the same design template, developed by our multi-lingual web Guru Ben O’Hear, but the content has been adapted to suit the different culture in Romania. For example, private health insurance in Romania is almost unknown and so our page about health insurance in Romania simply explains this fact.

The most innovative thing about the new Romanian website is the use of video.  Castle Craig’s UK website has a series of short videos covering different aspects of treatment and recovery, and for the Romanian website we translated these, with subtitles, and inserted them on various web pages. Lee Taylor, Castle Craig’s family therapist, talks about “terapie familiala” and on this page you can see a short interview of Louise C, a former patient at Castle Craig, heading up the page of patients’ testimonials.  A total of 14 short videos will be used to illustrate various pages of the new website.

We learned a lot by developing this website and hope to share this experience in other countries. Web experts say it is a mistake to simply translate a website from one language to another; it needs to be adapted to suit local conditions and for this you need a local team. We followed this advice and are proud of the result. But there was a lot more work involved than we had expected, in particular the editing and translation.  A lot of effort went into ensuring that the pages were well edited in the Romanian language and our main local psychiatric partner advised us on getting the technical words right. A big thank you is due to our hardworking translators Silvana Prodan and Rita Ilinciuc.

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