A coordinated, person-centred, holistic “treatment service system”: Within grasp or pipe dream?

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In 2014 I gave the Turning Point 20-year anniversary Oration. My talk was titled “Reflections on the evolution of treatment service systems”, and I traced the Victorian alcohol and other drug treatment system from 1994 (“New Directions”), through the 1997 “Framework for Service Delivery”, the “Blueprint” (2008), the “Roadmap” (2012), to the 2013 new “Framework for Reform”. Nine years on (2023), I am presented with another opportunity to reflect on treatment service system design and how to achieve a holistic treatment mosaic. Reflecting on this rich Victorian history and the more recent significant reviews (such as the Royal Commission), alongside my ongoing research on treatment systems, I will outline what I see as the key elements and their configurations in the goal of achieving a coordinated, person-centred, holistic treatment service system. The central question then becomes how such a system might be achieved. To that end, several key sticking points will be articulated, with the hope that by surfacing key sticking points, such a treatment service system becomes within grasp rather than remaining a pipe dream.


Professor Alison Ritter AO, Director, Drug Policy Modelling Program, Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales

Professor Alison Ritter, AO is an internationally recognised drug policy scholar and the Director of the Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) at the University of New South Wales. She is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow leading a multi-disciplinary program of research on drug policy. The goal of the work is to advance drug policy through improving the evidence-base, translating research and studying policy processes. Her research work has focussed on many aspects of drug policy, including research on drug laws (eg: decriminalisation models, threshold quantities), drug treatment (eg: funding systems, unmet demand for treatment, treatment planning), models and methods of democratic participation in drug policy; and research focussed on policy process (eg: policy stasis and policy change). Her work is supported by grants from competitive research funding bodies (NHMRC, ARC) as well as commissioned research from governments across Australia.

Professor Ritter worked as a clinical psychologist in the alcohol and drug treatment sector prior to commencing full-time research. She has contributed significant policy and practice developments across alcohol and drug policy over many years. She is past President of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy, and Editor in Chief for the International Journal of Drug Policy.

Professor Ritter has an extensive research grant track record ($31m). She has published widely in the field, including two edited books; multiple book chapters and more than 200 other publications.

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