This is the final report of a review of the Australian drug and alcohol treatment services sector that was undertaken by the Drug Policy Modelling Program between July 2013 and July 2014. The review was commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health.

AOD treatment is a good investment. For every $1 invested in alcohol or drug treatment, society gains $7 (Ettner et al., 2006). AOD treatment has been shown to:

  • Reduce consumption of alcohol and other drugs
  • Improve health status
  • Reduce criminal behaviour
  • Improve psychological wellbeing
  • Improve participation in the community.

The savings which accrue to governments from AOD treatment occur largely through direct savings in future health care costs, reduced demands on the criminal justice system, and productivity gains. The well-being gained for individuals and families is immense, as clients reduce the harms from alcohol or drug use and achieve personal, social, and economic goals. Investment by government in evidence-based AOD treatment is therefore worthwhile and represents value for money.

Aims of the Review

This Review, commissioned by the Department of Health, sought to deliver:

  • a shared understanding of current AOD treatment funding
  • a set of planned and coordinated funding processes
  • documentation to assist future Commonwealth funding processes to respond to the needs of individuals, families and their communities.

The program of research undertaken for the Review drew from comprehensive analyses of population and service provision statistics; an extensive series of key informant interviews across Australia to gather policy, research and practice knowledge; comprehensive literature reviews; case examples relevant to particular issues; liaison, discussion, and internal review and analysis. The work was undertaken between July 2013 and June 2014. A separate review was undertaken for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AOD treatment services (Gray et al., 2014).

Research Centre

Social Policy Research Centre

Research Area

Drug Policy Modelling Program

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