New Victorian-first alcohol and drug treatment service for South Eastern Melbourne

Residents in South Eastern Melbourne will have access to a new free Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) treatment program from August this year.

This is the first of its kind in Victoria to help tackle harm caused by alcohol and drug use.

The new service is part of an Australian Government National Ice Action Strategy funding package for AOD services across South Eastern Melbourne.

The intensive outpatient treatment program has a strong evidence base. It was developed in the 1980s by the US Matrix Institute on Addictions in response to the cocaine and methamphetamine epidemic.

The program for adults involves 16 weeks of intensive structured treatment, followed by 36 weeks of continuing care. The highly-structured format includes individual and group sessions for clients and family members.

“We’re so pleased to be the first in Victoria to offer this ‘gold standard’ alcohol and drug treatment in our community, starting in Frankston,” said South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN) CEO Elizabeth Deveny.

“At present there’s a real gap between acute hospital treatment and low intensity services for people with drug and alcohol problems. There’s strong community interest and a call to address this need.

“This new treatment service will not only help address this gap, but form an important part of our stepped care approach. This means that people will be able to step up into higher intensity or step down into lower intensity services, as their needs change.”

Federal Member for Dunkley, Chris Crewther, welcomed the new program, saying,

“Additional resources for treatment and rehabilitation is something that I have been fighting for since my election under my Ice, Drug and Alcohol Plan.

“Harm from alcohol and drug use is on the rise. For the last six years in Frankston, ambulance attendances related to crystal methamphetamine (ice) have increased by almost 30% every year.”

Federal Health Minister, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, also applauded the program, saying,

“More AOD treatment options are sorely needed, and one of the best things about this model is that people can continue to work and live at home while they’re participating in outpatient treatment.”

The new outpatient treatment program in Frankston will be delivered by Peninsula Health, who were successful in the open tender process conducted by SEMPHN.

It is planned that the program will be implemented in other parts of South Eastern Melbourne over the next 12 months.

Anyone in South Eastern Melbourne including consumers, family, friends as well as health professionals, will be able to call SEMPHN’s Intake number (1300 331 981) during business hours for information and to be referred to the program.