Help lines

Help line - Alcohol 

The Help line Alcohol (TVAl) +39 800 632000 is a service made available to all potential users by the Smoking, Alcohol and Drugs Observatory (OFAD) as part of the prevention and health promotion concerning alcohol use and abuse. The telephone service query tool contains much information regarding alcohol consumption and directs, through its operators, the acquisition of general and specialized indications of which the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) is aware at the national and European level. The service is in particular available to young people and their families and to institutions that deal with prevention and health promotion measures at individual and collective level. Any report on Italian data can be made by sending an e-mail to the following address: 


Help line - AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections 

The National Help line AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (TVAIDS and IST) service, established by the National Commission against AIDS in 1987 and co-financed by the Ministry of Health, is part of the psycho-socio-behavioral, communication, and training of the Department of infectious, parasitic and immune-mediated diseases. The TVAIDS and IST, anonymous and free from Monday to Friday from 13:00 to 18:00, has been one of the most significant activities of the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) for over 25 years. The service is engaged in primary and secondary prevention of HIV infection, AIDS and STIs aimed at the general population and specific targets, through telephone counseling. 

The operational tools used for telephone counseling are: 

  • six telephone lines, active from Monday to Friday, from 13:00 to 18:00 
  • a team made up of different professional profiles (lawyers, doctors, psychologists, communicators) 
  • an archive, periodically updated, consisting of over 2000 diagnostic-clinical centers (HIV screening centers, IST centers, transfusion centers, hepatitis centers), Public Relations Offices (URP), Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and AIDS housing homes 
  • an online data entry and archive management software 

The TVAIDS and IST team responds not only in Italian but also in English and French. 

The Service also has telephone advice from a lawyer. 

Coordination of the network (Re.Te.AIDS) of government and non-governmental services, engaged in the field of telephone counseling on HIV infection and AIDS present on the national territory. 


Help line against Smoking 

The Help line against Smoking (TVF) +39 800 554088 of the Smoking, Alcohol and Drugs Observatory (OFAD) of the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) is an anonymous and free national service that provides consultancy on issues related to smoking. 

It is open to the public from Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 16:00, is a link between the institution and citizen-user, and a listening and monitoring point. 

The TVF is aimed at: 

  • anyone interested in issues related to tobacco smoke 
  • smokers and their families 
  • non-Smokers 
  • ex-smokers 
  • public and private institutions 

And deals with: 

  • to provide telephone advice in order to guide the user to recognize their resources 
  • to provide information on public health structures (hospitals, ASL) and non-profit associations registered by OFAD 
  • to give scientific information on the health effects caused by cigarette smoking, on therapies and on the relevant legislation
  • offer advice for awareness-raising initiatives on the problem of smoking with a view to promoting health
  • studies and research on smoking issues 

The Help line against Smoking (TVF) +39 800 554088 moves with a view to promote health by using counseling techniques to facilitate the adoption of healthy lifestyles and the use of community resources in favor of health. 

In particular, it deals with primary prevention, and provides widespread information to the entire population; secondary, for use by people who have or risk having problems related to smoking; tertiary as a reference point for information or support to those who are in the process of cessation or to those who are at risk of relapse. 


The methodology used by TVF operators is counseling as a tool to activate and support a process of change with respect to issues related to tobacco smoke. In the telephone consulting "space" the user is helped to recognize and mobilize personal, family and territorial resources. 

Telephone counseling is a strictly personalized intervention, each user being different from the other with his / her own lifestyle, his / her own relationship with smoking and a personal way of perceiving the problem. For this reason, there are neither automatic answers nor predefined calls. 

Who it is for 

The TVF is aimed at anyone interested in the problems of tobacco smoke and, in particular, of course, smokers. 

Through active listening, operators analyze with the user their help request, giving scientific information on the damage caused by tobacco smoke, psychological support and indications on the health facilities that offer assistance to those who want to quit smoking. 

The TVF also supports non-smokers, family members of smokers who in anonymity want advice to help their loved ones, and some practical and bureaucratic advice on how to move to protect themselves from secondhand smoke. The service is also aimed at ex-smokers who having quit smoking can find support to deal with moments of crisis related to physical and mental dependence on cigarettes. 

Social and health workers are another class of users to which the TVF is addressed, as an interlocutor to relay initiatives, problems, give material but also as emotional support for their initiatives. For socio-health operators, the TVF can be a point of reference for local and national initiatives in which the comparison takes place with experts who can actually welcome and connect the various socio-health structures. 

TVF also collaborates with educational institutions, providing information material on the issue of smoking and to plan, together with schools, health promotion and prevention activities. 

Study and research activities 

Through study and research activities, the TVF team promotes tobacco awareness raising initiatives and interventions, to monitor the state of control of smoking in social and health services (hospitals, ASL, schools), and to create an operational network between the various health structures and facilitate the meeting between the needs of the user and the local services. 

TVF has contributed to the creation of the database of national health structures that have activated an outpatient clinic for the cessation of tobacco smoke. 

User data 

The data presented refer to the period from 2 May 2000 to 30 April 2007 during which 17507 telephone calls were received. The distribution of the calls by user groups is composed of 69.2% smokers, 3.9% ex-smokers, 5.5% non-smokers, 11.7% family members of smokers and 9.7% from other users (journalists, doctors, social-health workers). Regarding the geographical distribution (Istat, 1995) the number of calls received from the North are 34.1%, from the Center 22.4%, from the South 17.6%, from the Islands 9.4%. For 16.5% it was not possible to find the information. From the distribution of the calls by age group and gender, it shows that for both the "Female" category and the "Male" category, the most represented age group is between 30-59 years old. The distribution by gender indicates that the service was contacted by 51% by women and 49% by men, with an average age of 45 for women and 44 for men. From the processing of the calls received, the operators have fundamentally identified the following needs: psychological support; information on territorial structures; medical and legislative information. As for the smoking habit, the average number of cigarettes / day is about 20 and most users have expressly reported a strong motivation in the attempt to quit, however recognizing a psychological difficulty in intent. The user is particularly interested in the service and specific structures for smoking cessation and obtains the toll-free telephone number from some sources of information: the press (newspapers and periodicals) is the main source of information followed by posters and other materials received by the ASL and hospital units, TV, radio, acquaintances, the Internet, the Service 12. During the phone calls, the operators find that the user needs to listen attentively to their problems. This data may also be associated with the possibility for users to contact the service as a support during the course of cessation or maturation of the choice to stop smoking for the user; as a support for the family member of a smoker; as a comparison with the non-smoker on possible methods of defense against passive smoking. 


Help line – Drugs 

The Help line - Drugs (TVD) +39 800 186070 of the National Addiction and Doping Center is a counseling service for problems related to drugs. 

The help line represents a link between the institutions and the citizen, a point of listening to the needs of the population. It therefore qualifies as a tool for prevention and health promotion. 

It is aimed at young people and their families, socio-health workers, public and private social institutions. The aim is to provide information on the main effects of drugs (old and new), on the legislation and on the centers that can provide help (addiction services and therapeutic communities). 

Anonymous and free, the help line is active from Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 16:00.  


Help line – Anti-Doping 

The Help line Anti-doping (TVAD) +39 800 896970 of the National Addiction and Doping Center offers telephone counseling on the topic of doping. 

It is aimed at young people and their families, sports and socio-health operators, both public and private institutions. 

The aim is to provide scientific information on the health effects caused by the use of substances prohibited for doping, by the misuse and / or abuse of pharmacologically active substances not prohibited by doping, by the use and misuse of food supplements, on national and international legislation doping and therapeutic exemptions and sports facilities in the area. 

Anonymous and free, the help line is active from Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 16:00. 


Help line - Gambling  

From 2 October 2017, a toll-free number dedicated to those with gambling problems (TVNGA) is active. By calling +39 800 558822, you can get in touch with professionals in the sector and ask for their help. 

TVNGA addresses citizens by giving information on any territorial resources that may be present and dedicated, such as health services responsible for the treatment of gambling disorder, the services capable of managing socio-economic and / or legal problems related to indebtedness, as well as the Regional Toll-Free Numbers dedicated to the issue.

The line is also open for socio-health operators with the aim of facilitating the development of a network among the services that deal with the treatment of gambling disorder and promoting their visibility. Also in use is a platform developed by ISS which allows the census and continuous updating of information relating to the activities carried out and the services provided. 

Finally, TVNGA is also available to game operators who will find adequate support to deal with situations of particular socio-health problems.


Help line - Rare Diseases 

The Italian National Helpline for Rare Diseases (Telefono Verde Malattie Rare - TVMR) was set up at National center for rare diseases of the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) on February 29, 2008, on the occasion of 1st Rare Disease Day. 

The service is free throughout the country, from fixed and mobile phones. 

The toll-free number +39 800 896949 is answered by a team of expert researchers who, through active listening techniques, welcomes and provides information on diseases, exemptions relating thereto, orienting citizens and professionals within the national network of rare diseases and towards Patient associations. In order to facilitate the accessibility of deaf people to the telephone counselling service, thanks to the Agreement for scientific collaboration between the Italian National Institute of Health and the Department of Comparative Linguistic and Cultural Studies of the Ca 'Foscari University of Venice, a dedicated email has been opened: Toll free numbers not available when calling from outside Italy, Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad can use the e-mail address

The helpline is available from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 13:00. 

The information provided is based on the scientific literature and current legislation, in particular on Annex 7 of the Prime Minister's Decree  (DPCM) of 12 January 2017, which replaced Annex 1 of the Ministerial Decree  (DM) 279/2001 "Regulations for the establishment of the National Network of rare diseases and exemption from participation in the cost of the relative health services”; on Annex 8 and 8 bis DPCM of 12 January 2017, which replaced DM 329/1999 for the identification of chronic diseases and of regional regulations for the establishment of diagnosis and treatment hospitals.  

The patient associations whose contacts are provided are those registered in the database of the National center for rare diseases. 

As of March 3, 2016 "World Day of Birth Defects" the TVMR has implemented the service, providing to citizens and, in particular, to young couples who intend to have a child information on: 

  • correct pre-conceptional folic acid intake practices to reduce the risk of congenital malformations
  • other main issues of primary prevention of congenital defects

The helpline does not provide medical services, diagnosis, treatment recommendations or clinical information.

The methodology 

The methodology used by the TVMR team, refers to the principles and techniques of Counselling. This technique, through dialogue and active listening, helps the people with rare diseases to manage the problems, and to make autonomous and conscious decisions.

This kind of telephone intervention allows the TVMR team: 

  • to provide anonymously accurate, up-to-date and personalized information on rare diseases 
  • to encourage people to identify real problem and generate various  ideas to find the most effective solutions, orienting them to specialized clinical centers on RD or to patient associations, when necessary
  • to support the person in times of crisis, focusing together on a goal useful to implement behavioral and decision-making changes, in order to deal autonomously and consciously with the discomfort that he/she are experiencing

The tools

The team uses specific software that provides both data entry and data archiving functions, as well as online search for the necessary information. 
Data privacy 

The collected data are processed according to current legislation: 
Legislative Decree 10 August 2018, n. 101 that adjusts the Italian personal data protection code (Legislative Decree no. 196 of 30th June 2003) to the provisions of (EU) Regulation 2016/679.

Networks and collaborations

In order to harmonise the information provided by the various existing services, to share experiences and best practices and to facilitate citizens' access to the social and health network, TVMR has established partnerships at national and international level: 

  • since 2012, the helpline is a member of the European Network of Rare Disease Help Lines (ENRDHLs), promoted by EURORDIS, a non-governmental patient-driven alliance of patient organisations representing 929 rare disease patient organisations in 72 countries
  • since 2017, TVMR is promoter and coordinator of the Italian Network of counseling and information Centres for Rare Diseases - Rete Italiana di Centri di Ascolto&informazione per le Malattie Rare - R.I.C.A.Ma.Re (link to the Italian website).  

Social Media pages
Facebook @TelefonoVerdeMalattieRare 
Twitter @TVMR_CNMR 
Instagram @TelefonoVerdeMalattieRare_ISS