Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Reform
Overview of alcohol mandatory treatment
The Department of Health is implementing alcohol mandatory treatment for people who are repeatedly taken into Police protective custody due to their alcohol abuse.
Alcohol mandatory treatment is a harm reduction strategy designed to get help to some of the most chronic abusers of alcohol in our community. It gets support and services directly to those who are known to be at risk to themselves or others.
Roll out of alcohol mandatory treatment commenced on 1 July 2013.
What is the Process?
Adults who are taken into Police protective custody three or more times in two months for being intoxicated in public will be referred to the new alcohol mandatory treatment system. They will be clinically assessed and an independent tribunal will decide the best treatment options for that person. This may include treatment for up to three months in a secure residential treatment facility, treatment in a community residential treatment facility or other form of community management (including income management).
During their treatment clients will be offered a range of development programs, including life skills and work readiness programs. On completion of their treatment, clients will be provided with an aftercare program to support them when they return home.
Who will be subject to mandatory treatment?
Clients subject to alcohol mandatory treatment are chronic drinkers with a health problem. They are not in treatment because they have committed a criminal or violent offence. People who misuse alcohol and commit such crimes will continue to be dealt with through the criminal justice system and will not be treated at secure or community treatment facilities.
What happens in mandatory treatment?
During their treatment clients will be offered a range of development programs, including life skills and work readiness programs. Each client will have an individual treatment plan. Treatment may include participation in therapeutic community programs, cognitive based therapy, life and work skills programs, motivational enhancement, and development of alternative stress management and coping strategies. On completion of their treatment, an aftercare plan will be developed for each client. This will consider issues relating to the person's ongoing treatment, general health, accommodation and employment. Aftercare case workers will support and follow up with the client when they return to the community.
How will this be implemented?
In the initial phase of the implementation, assessment services will be in four locations: Darwin, Nhulunbuy, Katherine and Alice Springs.
Secure treatment options will be provided at the Medi-Hotel, the Nhulunbuy Special Care Centre, Central Australia Aboriginal Alcohol Program Unit in Alice Springs and Venndale in Katherine run by the Kalano Community Association Inc.
Other treatment services in the NT will be used when necessary to cater for clients where secure residential treatment is not warranted or available.
In the next phase of implementation, new secure assessment and residential treatment services will be built in Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs, with an expansion of other services.
Expansion of service capacity in the long term
This program of reform will focus on supporting the development and enhancement of treatment services across the Northern Territory. The approach will result in improved service quality and increased capacity for existing alcohol and other drug treatment services, as well as delivering new mandatory treatment services. This will provide a range of options to respond to the complexity of alcohol related harm in the Northern Territory.
For further information:
Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.
- Mandatory Treatment Service Arrangements and Pathways (Adobe PDF document - 332KB)
The Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Act came into effect on 1July 2013.
Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Tribunal
Members of the new Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Tribunal are appointed by the Minister for Alcohol Rehabilitation and come from the following backgrounds:-
- Lawyers with at least five years experience as a legal practitioner
- Medical practitioners, or other suitably qualified health practitioners, who have a special interest or expertise in the general care, health care, rehabilitation or treatment of persons who are misusing alcohol
- Community members who have a special interest or expertise in the issues facing persons who might appear before the Tribunal.
To date, the following members have been appointed to the Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Tribunal:
- Tom Berkley (President)
- Alan Woodcock (Deputy President)
- Chris Delaney
- Tass Liveris
- Amanda Nobbs-Carcuro
- Paul Rysavy
- Gary Bell
- Martin Blakemore
- John Boneham
- Suzi Kapetas
- Heather King
- Garry Lambert
- Beth Walker