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WA Government seeks public comment on compulsory drug treatment

Date posted: 12 September 2016

Western Australian (WA) Mental Health Minister, the Hon Andrea Mitchell, has announced the release of the state Mental Health Commission's discussion papers and supplementary materials, outlining the WA Government's plan to allow for compulsory alcohol and other drug treatment in the state.

The Minister hopes that submissions from the public will inform the final decision. 'The background and discussion papers are designed to promote public debate and also act as a guide to help members of the public who want to make a submission,' said the Minister.

'All West Australians, including people who have experienced their own alcohol or drug problems, family members, service providers and the wider community are invited to have their say on this important legislation.'

The Mental Health Commission is expected to release an Exposure Draft Bill for community consultation before the end of the year.

As these changes have been flagged as a public matter by the WA Government, with debate encouraged, diversity of opinion has arisen over the proposed legislation. Palmerston Chief Executive, Sheila McHale, has expressed concern that mandatory rehabilitation may not address the needs of the families of those affected by substance use. Ms McHale also said that any involuntary treatment centre would most likely be located in the metropolitan area, expressing concern that those in regional WA may miss out.

However, Minister Mitchell has said that regional people would be included. 'In developing this legislation, it is important to find a model that best fits WA, while continuing to advance the range of other prevention and treatment initiatives the State Government already has in place to mitigate the harm caused by drugs and alcohol,' said the Minister.

Public submissions will be open until 1 December, 2016. To obtain a copy of the discussion papers and their supplementary materials, see the links below.

Sources: Government of Western Australia Media Statements and The West Australian

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Last updated: 12 September 2016
 
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute