This paper was developed to challenge a perception that effective alcohol and other drugs (AOD) treatment is not available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
AOD treatment is one component of a multifaceted approach to reducing the impact of AOD-related harm to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, AOD treatment is ‘considered to be any structured intervention aimed specifically at addressing a person’s drug use’. Within the harm minimisation framework of Australia’s National Drug Strategy, AOD treatment falls under the demand reduction pillar. It includes interventions that range from early intervention for people who are using alcohol and other drugs harmfully but who are not dependent, through to intensive treatments for those who have severe dependence problems.
This paper was developed by the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) in response to a misperception that effective AOD treatment is not available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The paper aims to allay these misperceptions by outlining who can benefit from receiving treatment; what treatment is known to work; key principles that should guide the application of treatment; and what constitutes effective treatment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The focus of this paper is upon interventions that are evidence-based and directly related to addressing AOD use. It does not cover interventions that have a prevention focus.
As well as considering available evidence on the topic, this paper draws from the wealth of expertise and knowledge that exists among NIDAC members, who are mostly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who work within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AOD and health sectors, research and other relevant areas.
The key target audience for this paper include: workers and organisations directly involved in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who experience problems related to their own or another's AOD use; policy workers; and government.