This study is a partnership between CSRH and the Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL). The project aims to evaluate the suitability and impact of consumer participation at the organisational level within various drug treatment settings, including pharmacotherapy, detoxification and rehabilitation programs. Five treatment services in three Australian states were selected through an expression-of-interest process to develop and implement demonstration consumer-participation projects aimed at increasing levels of consumer participation at the organisational level. These demonstration projects were evaluated using qualitative methods and draw on a realist evaluation framework.
In 2008 baseline data was collected from three sites. In 2009 the baseline data collection was completed and evaluation data was collected from all sites.
The evaluation was intended to be explorative and focus primarily on processes rather than outcomes. The relatively short time frame of the project made it difficult to explore medium- and long-term impacts. Therefore, the evaluation focused primarily on readiness, implementation and short-term changes. The findings were used to develop a model of consumer participation suitable for use in a diverse range of drug-treatment settings. Furthermore, the findings from this research will contribute to the development of consumer-participation policies that can enhance service delivery and improve health outcomes in the drug treatment field.