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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander alcohol and other drug use best tackled by locals

Date posted: 10 September 2015

Health experts have warned against the increasing use of large faith-based organisations to deliver alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over local Aboriginal-run services.

Calling for the Abbott government to integrate treatment services into primary healthcare, Associate Professor Ted Wilkes and Professor Dennis Gray said yesterday Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AOD use needed to be better resourced and led by those within the community.

Professor Wilkes, the Chairman of the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee, said major non-government organisations (NGO) and charities had begun to take over the delivery of treatment services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and on remote communities.

The NGOs' funding share in the area has tripled across Australia in the past decade, despite international and Australian studies showing AOD treatment services were more effective if delivered by those from the same cultural background, and ultimately cost less.

Professor Wilkes said indigenous-run health organisations in Australia had a track record for delivering better results than outside services. 'Indigenous services and workers have an appreciation of what's going on and can walk through the door and say to aunty or uncle, 'How can we help fix up your quality of life?',' he said.

'Governments need to partner with Indigenous people and communities, not patronise them any more, and let them lead the charge.'

Source: The Australian


Last updated: 10 September 2015
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute