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Enhancing Alcohol and other Drug Services in the Kimberley

The State Government committed to a statewide, integrated Methamphetamine Action Plan to reduce the demand, supply and harm from methamphetamine use, including allocating $45 million of new and existing funding over four years to deliver the key initiatives outlined in the election.

As part of this, funding of $200,000 was allocated from the Royalties for Regions (RfR) Program for the MHC to identify and undertake planning regarding gaps in alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment services in the Kimberley.

The MHC contracted the Nous Group (Nous) to undertake stakeholder consultation in 2018, to inform the development of AOD and co-occurring mental health services in the Kimberley region. The Consultation Summary Report on AOD Services in the Kimberley (the Report) was prepared by Nous and outlines key themes that were raised by stakeholders throughout the consultation.

Opportunities to further enhance AOD services in the Kimberley region are presented through the Report, with eight key areas identified as existing gaps in service. These key areas are: harm reduction and personal support; consultation and liaison services; low-medical withdrawal; complex high-medical withdrawal; community day treatment programs (adult and youth); safe places for intoxicated people (youth); residential rehabilitation (youth); and post residential rehabilitation (youth).

As part of the 2019-20 Budget the State Government has allocated $11.5 million over the forward estimates to expand AOD treatment services in the Kimberley region including:

  • $9.2 million for the development of a comprehensive, specialist AOD service for young people with complex needs that includes residential rehabilitation, low medical withdrawal and stabilisation, and day programs (including ‘on-country’ programs, family intervention, co-occurring mental health and AOD, and links with other existing service providers in the Kimberley); and
  • $2.3 million for the provision of four adult low medical withdrawal beds to support withdrawal to take place in the Kimberley region, given that these services do not formally exist in the Kimberley region.

In addition to this, the State Government has committed $20.1 million through RfR, to continue core treatment and prevention services in the Pilbara and Kimberley through the North West Drug and Alcohol Support Program.

Youth AOD in the Kimberley

Nous have been engaged by the MHC to lead the co-design process of the model of service for the comprehensive AOD service for young people with complex needs. A literature review outlining service models for young people with AOD and co-occurring issues has been completed and can be found here. Consultation with key stakeholders, including young people in the Kimberley, will inform the development of the model.

The development of the model of service was placed on hold in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consultations in the Kimberley that were originally scheduled for April and May 2020 could not proceed due to travel bans to regional and remote areas.

Now that travel bans to the region have been lifted, the MHC is pleased to announce that consultation and co-design of the model will recommence from July 2020.

The MHC and the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) have been listening to the concerns of stakeholders in the Kimberley and have been working closely to identify opportunities to collaborate and integrate projects where possible. Read the joint statement from the MHC and WAPHA outlining this commitment.

Low Medical Withdrawal in the Kimberley

The open Tender process for the adult low medical withdrawal beds was open from 8 November 2019 to 24 January 2020, However, completion of the Tender process has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The beds are now expected to be operational in the second half of 2020.

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