The Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch is responsible for developing, managing and coordinating NSW Ministry of Health policy, strategy and program funding relating to the prevention, minimisation and treatment of alcohol and drug related harm. The branch also supports the maintenance of relevant legislative frameworks, including drug and alcohol treatment legislation.
The branch forms part of the Centre for Population Health which oversees population and health policy, programs and initiatives in the fields of blood borne viruses, healthy lifestyles, overweight and obesity.
The work of Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch is delivered through the drug and alcohol program, in partnership with local health districts, Justice Forensic and Mental Health, Sydney Children's Hospital Network, NSW Health pillars and affiliated health organisations, non-government organisations, research institutions and other partner organisations.
The Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Branch is currently configured into four teams:
- Clinical Policy
- System Enablers
- AOD Policy
- Prevention and Harm Minimisation
The 2019-20 budget for alcohol and other drugs is $231.6 million which includes the 2016 NSW Drug Package funding of $75 million over four years to tackle drug misuse in NSW communities.
The funding is allocated to local health districts and non-government organisations to provide core drug and alcohol services, including:
- inpatient withdrawal management, hospital based drug and alcohol consultation liaison services, specialist drug and alcohol treatment services
- advice, referral and counselling services, brief and early intervention programs
- community based education and information programs
- residential rehabilitation and aftercare services
- NGO partnerships
The Drug and Alcohol Package
Announced in the NSW State Budget in June 2016, the Drug and Alcohol Package is an investment of $75 million over four years to tackle drug misuse in the community by supporting more young people, more families and more people into treatment.
A key focus of the package is to increase access to treatment and ongoing care for more vulnerable people in our communities. To enable this, the funding aims to support integrated service models and are strong and assertive partnerships between government health services and non-government organisations.
- $24 million over four years is being invested to help more young people including:
- $16 million over four years to expand access to youth specific services for more than 1,000 young people so they can access a range of treatment options across the health system. The investment includes support for new treatment services for detoxification, residential rehabilitation and counselling services
- $8 million for an Early Intervention Innovation Fund to help build the evidence-base for early intervention models and support people at risk with a focus on young people using drugs.
- $24.5 million over four years to help more families including:
- $15 million to expand substance use in pregnancy services. Eight local health districts are being funded to develop and expand ‘Substance Use in Pregnancy and Parenting Services’ to provide specialist medical and nursing throughout pregnancy and post-delivery, including a plan for appropriate support for up to two years
- $8 million to increase residential rehabilitation and on-going care for women and parents with dependent children
- $1.5 million to boost support for families and carers, additional resources will support and carers by providing access to information including de-escalation strategies, parenting programs and understanding relapse.
- $26.5 million over four years to help more people into treatment including:
- $12 million for community treatment and aftercare to support more people to stay in community based treatment by providing them with intensive case coordination and enhanced wrap around support
- $14.5 million to help more people with severe substance dependence. Seven local health districts and one speciality health network are being funded to develop Assertive Community Management programs for people with severe substance dependence and highly complex needs. It will provide access to holistic treatment and ongoing support for people who may not otherwise be able to receive the specialised treatment they need.
In addition, as part of its 2015 Election Commitment, the NSW Government is investing $11 million over four years into new services to treat and support people who are using crystalline methamphetamine (commonly known as ‘ice).
Included in this investment of $11 million is $7 million to fund new Stimulant Treatment Services in the Illawarra Shoalhaven, Mid-North Coast, Northern NSW and Western Sydney Local Health Districts. Existing Stimulant Treatment programs at St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst and Hunter New England Local Health District have been enhanced.
$4 million have been committed for non-government treatment services to tackle crystalline methamphetamine in rural and regional NSW. Non-government services in partnership with local health districts are delivering treatment services tailored to the needs of individual communities in rural and regional NSW – in services in Southern NSW (Goulburn and surrounds), Western NSW (Dubbo, Wellington and surrounds) and Murrumbidgee (Wagga Wagga, Griffith and surrounds).
The NSW Ministry of Health contracted the Alcohol and Drug Foundation to develop and deliver a package of education activities titled ‘Breaking the ice’ as part of the NSW Government Election Commitment. The package includes fact-sheets, online ‘e-learning’ modules to support communities to hold their own education activities, Aboriginal-specific resources, and community-language information resources. Additionally, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation facilitated ten community forums across NSW from March to December 2016.
An online brief intervention for young people has been developed and is available of the ‘eCLIPSE portal, which encourages and supports young people to seek help early for their crystalline methamphetamine use.
Drug and Alcohol Chief Addiction Specialist
The role of the Drug and Alcohol Chief Addiction Medicine Specialist at the NSW Ministry of Health is to provide:
- advice on drug and alcohol clinical matters to the Director of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch and staff
- information on new developments in drug and alcohol clinical treatment and care
- leadership on the development and monitoring of a clinical governance framework for NSW drug and alcohol services
- support to NSW clinical staff at times where local clinical leadership is not available.
Drug and alcohol programs