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Drug Policy and Reform News - September 2018


Hi all,

We hope you have stayed warm through this unusually cold winter.

Since our last newsletter in April, we have continued to support the development and expansion in the AOD sector. In this e-news, we highlight the expansion of residential rehabilitation, and update you on the progress on a number of significant initiatives that are underway. We hope this helps inform you of our collective efforts for the rest of the year.

As always, we welcome your feedback on this bulletin, including on any topics you would like to see included in future editions. Comments can be provided by emailing aod.enquiries@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

Regards,
Ross Broad, Assistant Director, Drug Policy and Reform


Budget 2018-19

I am happy to say that the Victorian Government is continuing its commitment to support our AOD services and reduce the harm associated with alcohol and other drug use.

In 2018-19, the government is investing a record $259.9 million in alcohol and other drug services, an increase of 57 per cent over the last four State Budgets. The 2018-19 Budget will continue implementation of the $180 million Ice Action Plan and the $87 million Drug Rehabilitation Plan.


Residential Rehabilitation Expansion

We now have three new specialist residential services available to support people with complex treatment needs.

Western Health has 20 specialist dual diagnosis beds at Westside Lodge - based in St Albans, while Bendigo Health have another eight places. These specialist services provide clients with alcohol and drugs rehabilitation as well as enhanced support for mental health issues.

A further eight beds are part of a new residential withdrawal and stabilisation service for clients with complex needs in Box Hill, through Turning Point and Eastern Health.

All three services are now accepting referrals through regular pathways. Many thanks to the service providers involved, who have worked closely with us to rapidly deliver this unprecedented expansion in residential rehabilitation for Victorians across the state.


Regional residential rehabilitation - update

We now have three new specialist residential services available to support people with complex treatment needs.

Western Health has 20 specialist dual diagnosis beds at Westside Lodge - based in St Albans, while Bendigo Health have another eight places. These specialist services provide clients with alcohol and drugs rehabilitation as well as enhanced support for mental health issues.

A further eight beds are part of a new residential withdrawal and stabilisation service for clients with complex needs in Box Hill, through Turning Point and Eastern Health.

All three services are now accepting referrals through regular pathways. Many thanks to the service providers involved, who have worked closely with us to rapidly deliver this unprecedented expansion in residential rehabilitation for Victorians across the state.

This year's State Budget commits more than $ 47 million to increase access to residential rehabilitation in regional Victoria.

  • $6.7 million over four years will operationalise the new 20-bed facility in the Grampians, which will progressively commence under Windana Drug and Alcohol Recovery from late 2018.
  • $40.6 million will support the construction of three new 30-bed facilities in the Hume, Barwon and Gippsland regions. The Gippsland facility will be operated by Odyssey House Victoria in Bairnsdale, supporting a proposal from the HOPE Restart Centre. Selection of service providers for the remaining facilities, to be located in Wangaratta and Corio, is in progress. These services are expected to commence in 2020--21.

Visit health.vic's residential treatment page for factsheets about residential rehabilitation.


Facility Renewal Grants

Thirty-three Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) projects were funded through this year's Facility Renewal Grant Round. The funding will be used to remodel or refurbish existing Victorian Government funded service facilities. The facilities will provide greater comfort for patients and clients, enabling clinicians to deliver safer and more efficient care that improves patient outcomes.

The grants were officially launched at the Ministerial opening of the Taskforce Youth Hub on 2 August.


Transition to Drug Treatment Activity Units for residential services

We will soon be transitioning to Drug Treatment Activity Units (DTAUs) as a means of providing a more uniform funding model for residential services. Residential rehabilitation and withdrawal service providers have participated in a number of workshops held by the department to support the transition from episodes of care to DTAUs. This change will bring residential services in line with the funding arrangements for non-residential services, and will allow for greater transparency and consistency between providers.


New AOD Pathways Service

AOD Pathways Service was established in April 2018 through the Drug Rehabilitation Plan and delivered by Eastern Health Turning Point. Via a specialist team, the AOD Pathways Service provides phone-based short term intensive support to individuals and families to assist with navigation, advocacy, support and referral.

The specialist AOD Pathways Service staff are available from Monday to Friday between 9am - 5pm, however calls outside of these hours are taken by DirectLine staff for triage.

Referrals to AOD Pathways can be made by calling 1800 319 619. Enquiries about the service can also be made to AODpathways@turningpoint.org.au.


Medically Supervised Injecting Room

I am happy to report that since the last newsletter, the Medically Supervised Injecting Room opened on 30 June 2018 and has been playing an active role in saving lives and reducing harms associated with injecting drug use.

There are new factsheets on regulations, operations and community safety as well as some other useful information available to download from health.vic.

Also, client-facing communications materials, including business cards and posters, are available from North Richmond Community Health directly at ourcentre@nrch.com.au or (03) 9418 9800.


Forensic AOD Service Delivery Model

The Forensic AOD Service Delivery Model is a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and Regulation and the Department of Health and Human Services that was released on 20 July 2018.

The primary aim of the Model is to enhance the delivery of AOD treatment for community based offenders under the supervision of Community Correctional Services (CCS).

A series of roadshows to release the Model will take place over August and September 2018. There are 11 locations in total, including metro and regional areas. The first session was held on 16 August 2018 at central office, with over 80 people in attendance.

The Model can be found on health.vic.


Offender group programs

CHOICES

CHOICES is an AOD group education program designed to help low risk offenders identify and address the harms associated with their AOD use. After the department held a workshop on 27 April 2018, changes to the CHOICES program were communicated to service providers on 30 June 2018 to better promote the program and make it more efficient.

The following changes took place from 1 July 2018:

  • delivery through Consortia arrangements
  • promotional material for the program is being developed to assist in promotion of the program and to allow providers and CCS staff to be able to provide information of the program to participants prior to them attending
  • reduction in the number of sessions delivered (with larger number of clients booked into each one) to drive greater efficiency

An updated ACSO COATS Guide to CHOICES can be accessed at the ACSO website.

Kickstart

Kickstart is a medium/high risk offender AOD criminogenic group program that is delivered by Caraniche, Odyssey House Victoria, ECADS and SECADA.

We are pleased to report that completion rates are still surpassing existing community based alcohol and other drug counselling services. As at 6 August 2018, an average of 65 per cent of clients engaged in KickStart completed treatment (across 13 programs). This is an excellent result when compared to other counselling services that have between 40-45 per cent.

The 24 hour group (G24) for medium risk offenders is being trialled by Caraniche (the developer of the program) and will be rolled out by the other service providers in October 2018.


Pharmacotherapy

There are new developments for pharmacotherapy, with consultations beginning for the Pharmacotherapy Area Based Networks.  The communications for the status assessment commenced in July 2018.

360Edge have started consultations in the Southwest of the state with consultation due to roll out across Victoria in the coming weeks and months.  This work will be completed towards the end of 2018. The department will consider 360Edge's suggestions for change and develop a set of priorities for future work for the Victorian Pharmacotherapy program.


Data and Performance

The department will soon start collecting live data through the new Victorian Alcohol and Drug Collection (VADC). There have been great efforts across the sector in the lead up to implementing the new collection, which the department recognised through VADC implementation support payments in June 2018.

The focus in the time remaining will be on supporting providers to transition to their new systems, including quality assuring test data. There are a range of actions providers can take to ensure that their data is tested and approved in time for the go-live date of 1 October 2018. Providers should contact the aoddatadev@dhhs.vic.gov.au if they have not received information related to testing. All providers are reminded to keep reporting through existing processes (ADIS and the DTAU spreadsheet) until directly advised by the department that they can fully transition to VADC reporting.


AOD Specialist Family Violence Providers

There are currently openings for AOD Specialist Family Violence Advisor positions across the state. The advisors will provide family violence expertise to the organisation, workers and other service providers in their area to improve recognition and treatment of both victims and perpetrators of family violence. Recruitment for the advisor positions continues with the intention of filling all vacancies by October.


Child Information Sharing and Family Violence Information Sharing Schemes

There are new developments in the sharing of information, with the Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM) replacing the Common Risk Assessment Framework. The organisations prescribed under the MARAM will be required to start to align their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools to the redeveloped framework.

The MARAM Framework will ensure more professionals have a greater awareness of family violence risk assessment and management practice, including how to determine what information is relevant to be shared, to better protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions and behaviours.  It is not expected that organisations will have aligned to the Framework prior to 27 September 2018. Rather, organisations will begin to adapt and align their policies, procedures, practice guidance and tools to the Framework.


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