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Treatment options

Treatment must be tailored to the needs and abilities of an individual. Effective treatment depends on the substances the person is using, their level of dependence, their readiness to change and their past experiences with services.

Ensure that parents have the option to access culturally appropriate services or identify the specific cultural supports they may need. This could include going to a treatment option on Country or being closer to family when receiving treatment. Be flexible so that the parents can ensure their social, emotional and cultural wellbeing are included in their specific alcohol and other drugs treatment needs.

Helping a parent to understand that there is support available to them to assist with making changes to their alcohol and other drugs use is important. It may mean talking through past experiences with services: What worked well? What was difficult? What would help now? 

Providing parents with information about the types of services that are available and offering to assist them with referrals can be the first step.

If parents have not engaged with alcohol and other drugs services before, it can be useful to explain that when a parent contacts an alcohol and other drugs service:

  • an initial assessment may occur over the phone or face to face
  • the service will provide support and treatment to assist with the parent’s goals about the changes to their alcohol and other drugs use.

Common treatment options

  • Pharmacotherapy services: These are in each district in both public and private settings. Prescribed medications such as methadone and buprenorphine can help people stop using non-prescribed medicines.
  • Inpatient detox: This is usually short term and medication-assisted. A person is admitted as an inpatient.
  • Long-term inpatient rehabilitation: Rehabilitation often includes intensive and structured treatments. These programs can run anywhere from 3 to 12 months.
  • Drug and alcohol counselling: These services provide outpatient counselling on a regular basis. Counselling can be short term (6–10 weeks), but some services provide long-term support.
  • Outpatient groups: These may be weekly outpatient services or may be groups that require 2–3 days attendance per week.
  • Stimulant treatment programs: These programs are designed to support clients who use stimulants (methamphetamine, cocaine and other amphetamine-type substances) and who wish to develop safer ways of using or to quit.
  • Self-help groups: A number of self-help groups exist in different districts. These include Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and SMART Recovery.

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