Adult Drug Court
Cannabis Clinics
Child Safety
Consultation-Liaison (CL)
Drug and Alcohol Non Government Organisation Project
Involuntary Drug and Alcohol Treatment (IDAT) Program
MERIT
Opioid Treatment Program (OTP)
Stimulant Treatment Clinics

Adult Drug Court

The Adult Drug Court is a specialised court, operating under the Drug Court Act 1998 with the aim of breaking the cycle of drug dependency, criminal activity and imprisonment. The Court targets drug-dependent adult offenders who are facing a custodial sentence and offers the option of drug treatment while on parole or probation.

The system works with close cooperation between the Department of Health, Justice Health, two Area Health Services and a range of Non-Government Organisations which assist in providing drug treatment including residential rehab.

Cannabis Clinics

Dedicated cannabis clinics are located at Parramatta, the Central Coast, Bathurst/Orange, Sutherland, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Tweed Heads. The clinics have been set up to stand apart from the mainstream drug and alcohol treatment services and provide intensive clinical interventions and treatment to dependent cannabis users with complex needs, including clients with mental health issues.

Further aims of the clinics are to reduce the health, social and legal problems and risk of harm associated with cannabis use, and to assist people using cannabis who want to become abstinent.

Child Safety

In response to the NSW Ombudsman's Report, MHDAO have implemented a number of policies, protocols and programs that address the needs of children who have parents with drug and alcohol issues.

MHDAO conducted a child safety campaign targeted at individuals on the Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) who have children in their care. A wallet sized leaflet is currently being developed by the Ministry of Health and Department of Family and Community Services and aims to reduce the risk of methadone poisoning in children by educating those with children in their care on the dangers of child ingestion of methadone, correct methadone storage methods and safe settling and sleeping techniques for young babies.

Consultation-Liaison (CL)

Hospital Drug and Alcohol Consultation Liaison services are available in most hospitals in NSW. These services are designed to alleviate access pressures and to reduce the burden that drug and alcohol problems currently place on the hospital system.

An independent evaluation of these services commissioned by MHDAO shows evidence that more than one third of people presenting to NSW hospitals have a drug and alcohol problem in need of some level of intervention. Hospital Drug and Alcohol Consultation Liaison services are a low cost intervention which produce cost savings to hospitals through a reduction in re-presentations to Emergency Departments. Hospital Drug and Alcohol Consultation Liaison services prevent an increase in average length of stay in ED’s over time, reduce the frequency of ED presentations over time, and are associated with a reduction in incidents in hospitals.

Evaluation of NSW Drug & Alcohol Consultation Liaison Services - Final Report
The Hospital Drug & Alcohol Consultation Liaison Model of Care

Drug and Alcohol Non-Government Organisation Project

The non-government sector is a significant provider of drug and alcohol services in NSW. NGOs provide a variety of services including: counselling, outreach, co-morbidity services, education, group and family support and life skills training. Residential rehabilitation services in NSW are predominantly provided by NGOs and range from large therapeutic community style programs to short stay residential rehabilitation services.

Involuntary Drug and Alcohol Treatment (IDAT) Program

The IDAT Program commenced on 4 September 2012 to provide short term care, with an involuntary supervised withdrawal component, to protect the health and safety of people with severe substance dependence who have experienced, or are at risk of, serious harm and whose decision making capacity is considered to be compromised due to their substance use.

The Drug and Alcohol Treatment Act 2007 (the Act) provides the legislative basis for the Program. The Act provides for the health and safety of persons with severe substance dependence through involuntary detention, care, treatment and stabilisation.

To be considered for treatment under the Act a patient must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. The person has a severe substance dependence, and
  2. Care, treatment or control of the person is necessary to protect the person from serious harm, and
  3. The person is likely to benefit from treatment for his or her substance dependence but has refused treatment, and
  4. No other appropriate and less restrictive means for dealing with the person are reasonably available.

The IDAT Program is delivered out of Royal North Shore Hospital North Sydney and Bloomfield Hospital Orange with state-wide intake. The Program provides up to 28 days inpatient involuntary treatment and 3-6 months of voluntary community based treatment and support.

MERIT

The MERIT program is a court based diversion program that allows arrested defendants with illicit drug use problems to be assessed for suitability to undertake treatment and rehabilitation under bail conditions. As a result of that assessment, Magistrates can bail defendants to attend dedicated drug treatment services created through specific MERIT program funding.

As of 2015, MERIT is now available in 65 local courts across all fifteen Local Health Districts.

To date, over 23,000 adult offenders have entered the program since 2000, and almost 15,000 have successfully graduated from the program.

For more information about the program and how to make referrals please go to the Department of Justice

  

Opioid Treatment Program (OTP)

The NSW Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) seeks to reduce the social, economic and health harms associated with opioid use. The OTP delivers pharmacotherapy and associated services to opioid dependent patients in NSW through the public sector (including Justice Health), and private sector (private clinics, general practitioners, psychiatrists and pharmacies). There are currently 3 types of opioid treatment pharmacotherapy available in NSW: methadone, buprenorphine and buprenorphine-naloxone.

Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) Prescribers Update Newsletter

MHDAO publishes a quarterly newsletter which is distributed to OTP prescribers, clinic staff and other key stakeholders.

Stimulant Treatment Clinics

NSW Health funds a stimulant treatment program on a trial basis at two clinics. One clinic is located at the Wesley Mission in Newcastle West and the other is at St Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst.

The clinics provide a range of services to stimulant users within a stepped care framework to match the special needs of each patient. An evaluation is being conducted, based on extensive interviews before, during and after the treatment.

The clinics operate from 8am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Contact phone numbers for both clinics are: (02) 9361 8088 (metro) 1800 101 188 (regional/rural)

Page Updated: Tuesday 8 December 2015