Key messages

  • Under the Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Act 2010 in Victoria, people with severe substance dependence may be mandated to receive withdrawal treatment in a declared treatment centre.
  • This affects only those people who urgently require treatment to save their life or prevent serious damage to their health.
  • Compulsory treatment provides access to medically assisted withdrawal treatment, allows clients time to recover, capacity to make decisions about their substance use and an opportunity to engage in voluntary treatment.

About compulsory treatment

The Victorian Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Act 2010 (the Act) provides for a brief period of detention and compulsory treatment of people with severe substance dependence in a treatment centre. This affects only those people with the most severe substance dependence who urgently require treatment to save their life or prevent serious damage to their health.

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.

A person must be incapable of making decisions about their substance use and personal health, welfare and safety due primarily to their substance dependence. Without intervention, these people are likely to become permanently disabled or die.

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.

Detention and treatment under the Act must always be an option of last resort. Detention and treatment is limited to a maximum of 14 days.