Treatment and support

Alcohol is the most common drug of concern that both Aboriginal and non-Indigenous people seek help for [43453][37817]. Many alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment services that are specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are offered through primary health services or provided by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

Treatment services for people with alcohol dependence includes brief intervention, withdrawal management, counselling, residential rehabilitation, support groups, case work and other activities to reduce demand.

Screening for alcohol use problems as part of a routine health check, helps to identify any potential issues with alcohol use that can then be referred for follow up treatment [34063]. For some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, having access to appropriate residential rehabilitation services provides an opportunity to give up alcohol in a supportive environment [27794][23503].

Programs tailored to local needs and culturally safe programs that are flexible and address both individual and community issues have been shown to be effective [30136][33637]. Evidenced based approaches that have been adapted to be culturally relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have also delivered promising results [34185].

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may not seek help from a specific alcohol and drug treatment service but would benefit from the specialised support that an alcohol and drug treatment service can provide. Developing partnerships between agencies such as justice, health and community services increases the capacity of services to link clients to the help they need and better respond to alcohol and drug dependence. Integrating AOD and mental health services across sectors by different agencies working in partnership is one of the recommendations of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Drug Strategy [30136].


Key resources



Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) - Pirlinyarnu by Juliette Nampijinpa Brown

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