We need more resources that are better spent
Alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment policy is at a significant point of transition in Australia. The media is replete with examples of people unable to access appropriate AOD treatment — whether it be for detoxification, residential rehabilitation, pharmacotherapy or counselling. Anecdotal reports are backed by evidence of high unmet need and demand for treatment. Fewer than half of those seeking AOD treatment in Australia are currently able to access appropriate treatment.1 This is an appalling situation, but not much different than in most developed countries,2 and all the more concerning because we know treatment works and it reduces the substantial social costs of harmful AOD consumption.3
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- 3. Ettner SL, Huang D, Evans E, et al. Benefit-cost in the California treatment outcome project: does substance abuse treatment “pay for itself”? Health Serv Res 2006; 41: 192-213.
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- 7. Ritter A, Chalmers J, Berends L. Health expenditure on alcohol and other drug treatment in Australia (2012/2013). Drug Alcohol Rev 2015; 34: 397-403.
- 8. Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy. National drug strategy 2010–2015: a framework for action on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2011. http://www.nationaldrugstrategy.gov.au/internet/drugstrategy/Publishing.nsf/content/DB4076D49F13309FCA257854007BAF30/$File/nds2015.pdf (accessed Jan 2016).
- 9. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2012–13. (Drug treatment series, number 24; AIHW Cat. No. HSE 150). Canberra: AIHW, 2013. http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129548257 (accessed Jan 2016).
- 10. Commonwealth Government Department of Health. Taking action to combat ice [website]. 4 Dec , 2015. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/tatci (accessed Dec 2015).
- 11. Steensma C, Boivin JF, Blais L, Roy E. Cessation of injecting drug use among street-based youth. J Urban Health 2005; 82: 622-637.
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