"[This session] inspired me around the inclusion of education programs and possible partnerships. I left interested in meeting the needs of cohorts such as those over 65 and CALD communities." - ACTA Delegate

NDARC’s Dr Winifred Asare-Doku and Dr Stella Settumba Stolk recently presented a keynote address at the ACTA Conference 2023, along with Teguh Syahbahar (Manager Multicultural Programs, Odyssey NSW) and Chris Keyes (Deputy CEO, NADA). This conference brought together professionals working in therapeutic communities, residential rehabilitation services, researchers, and clinicians in the alcohol and other drug fields. The focus areas for this year’s ATCA Conference were Inclusion, Innovation, Impact, and Sustainability.

Their keynote address was on the theme of Inclusion and was titled ‘Everybody Matters: Inclusion of People with a CALD Background in AOD Therapeutic Care.’ While almost 50% of Australians are of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background, they remain under-represented in alcohol and other drugs (AOD) treatment.

This address discussed data capture limitations, service barriers to care, and the intersection of multiple issues that increase the risk of AoD harms among people from care inclusive to people from a CALD background. The presenters, who represent a partnership between the National Drug and Alcohol Services, Research Centre (NDARC), Odyssey House Multicultural Program, and the Network of Alcohol and Other Drugs (NADA), discussed community interventions in NSW; research conducted with AoD residential Rehabilitation services to assess their readiness to address service barriers; and research being undertaken with AoD consumers to understand their needs and preference for treatment.

Practical holistic approaches that services can incorporate in their practice to make their spaces and care inclusive to people from CALD were shared. The uptake of these approaches among services could increase AoD service uptake and provide opportunities for addressing other comorbidities. Because everybody matters, people from a CALD background must be equally included in everyday service plans and interventions.