Compulsory treatment 

Key messages

  • The Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Act 2010 (SSDTA) provides for a brief period of detention and treatment of people with severe substance dependence in a treatment centre.
  • The SSDTA only applies to people with the most severe substance dependence who are incapable of making decisions about their substance use and personal health, welfare and safety due primarily to their substance dependence.

About compulsory treatment 

The Victorian Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Act 2010 (the Act) allows for up to 14 days of detention and treatment of people with severe substance dependence in a treatment centre. This affects only those people with the most severe substance dependence that urgently require treatment to save their life or prevent serious damage to their health. A person must be incapable of making decisions about their substance use and personal health, welfare and safety due primarily to their substance dependence.

Detention and treatment under the Act must always be an option of last resort. Detention must be the only means by which treatment can be provided and there must be no less restrictive means reasonably available to ensure the treatment. 

Compulsory treatment gives a person access to medically assisted withdrawal, time to recover, the capacity to make decisions about their substance use and the opportunity to engage in voluntary treatment. 

The person making the application must be aged over 18. The applicant must complete an application form and obtain a recommendation from a prescribed registered medical practitioner that the person subject of the application satisfies the strict criteria for detention and treatment under the Act. Both the medical practitioner's recommendation and the application should then be lodged with a Magistrates' Court by the person making the application. Upon approval by the Court, the person is admitted to the treatment centre.

The current declared treatment provider is St Vincent's Health.

Disclaimer

The information provided on these pages is intended as general information about the Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Act 2010 and Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Regulations 2011 and not as legal advice. If individuals or service providers have queries about their obligations under the Act they should obtain independent legal advice.