Experiences with mandatory AOD treatment in the Northern Territory
Jul 1, 2022
The Alcohol and Drug Association of the Northern Territory recently held a webinar by Dr Christine Watson (Addiction Medicine Specialist with NT Health) titled “Experiences with mandatory treatment in the Northern Territory.” This fascinating presentation describes some of the outcomes for people who were treated under the “Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Act” which operated from 2013 to 2017, along with some of the outcomes for young people treated under the “Volatile Substances of Abuse Act”, which was introduced in 2006 and continues to operate to this day. The mandatory treatment orders applied to almost entirely Aboriginal people and the outcomes of both programs have been poor. The presentation describes the complexity of mandatory treatment legislation - how over time, the system becomes focused on applying the legislation, which results in less emphasis on other types of voluntary treatment, or brief / early intervention approaches. Dr Watson describes some alternative approaches to work more effectively with this highly complex cohort.