Join the online discussion

SA Health is inviting feedback on the feasibility, costs and impacts of trialling a model for mandatory assessment, detention and treatment for those at extreme and immediate risk, based on the Victorian Severe Substance Dependency Treatment Act 2010. You can read the consultation paper prepared to inform that process here (PDF 562KB).

You can have your say by:

  • joining the online discussion below
  • emailing your feedback to dassahealthpolicy@sa.gov.au
  • sending your feedback to 
    • SA Health Mandatory Assessment for Substance Dependence Consultation
      C/- Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia (DASSA)
      75 Magill Road
      Stepney SA 5069

Comments closed

sarah sutton

27 Jan 2018

I'm glad that the government is consulting with the community, and I also hope that they will be considering the views of those with lived experience.
I am interested to know how the effectiveness rates compared with how the system is currently run in SA – the success rates from Victoria with regard to those no longer using substances seems very low. Is it value for money - particularly when funds will be used for transporting those in regional areas for assessment – when there are such low success rates?
I am VERY concerned about the use of existing beds from mental health being used, but rather I would advocate for the second option of increasing funding for creating new beds for this project.
I would like to know the names and locations of the “treatment centres” listed – are these mental health services, DASSA services, or EDs?
I am interested to know how individuals first come to the attention of public servants, my view is that it is usually through SAAS or SAPOL, in which case these workers will need additional training and support in managing referrals to such a service/process.
What are the post-withdrawal care pathways for people who are being discharged following a period of detention?
How would this legislation sit with the Mental Health Act, given that some individuals are likely to have substance abuse and mental health issues? It would be difficult to determine whether someone’s primary issue is related to mental health issues, or drug and alcohol intoxication or dependence. This is also very concerning given the recent changes to the Mental Health Act in SA, which stipulate that a person can not be given treatment for physical health issues under the Act, despite those with severe mental health issues often having significant physical health issues, resulting in them dying 25 years earlier when compared to those in the general population. This is also compounded by those with severe mental illness often having a lack of insight associated with their mental health condition.
What will be the process for developing secure facilities for better management of the small number of clients at high risk of absconding.
How are the rights and concerns of those affected by drug and alcohol dependence being gathered, given that family members, children and members of the public may be victims of violence and trauma relating to the person using substances ?

Lynda Loades

15 Jan 2018

Dont worry about the cost, just do it. These are the sort of people who should have those welfare cards. so they eat, and their bills are paid. Just do it , detain them ,get them off the streets where they do harm to siblings ect ect.Dont just sit there and discuss this for years .Just do it.

James Ziersch

12 Jan 2018

I personally know people who receive welfare payments and use this to pay for their drug use which means they don't have enough money to pay for rent or decent food, just takeaway. They don't want help from an agency or service set up to help, but they just freeload on the generosity of their friends, so that they don't have to change their ways. These teenagers come from families, with younger children, who are also welfare recipients with similar habits and behaviours! Domestic violence is also present. So whose rights are being protected?

Deb Downes

12 Jan 2018

I’m dismayed that this is a topic that’s been put out to “YourSay”.

It’s an inflammatory issue that divides the community.

I’m sick of Government’s inability to employ good social welfare practice and get on with it.

This not an issue that should be up for a public vote, it’s sickening.

Malgo Schmidt

11 Jan 2018

I am absolutely against mandatory assessment, detention and treatment you are proposing.
It violates civil rights.
Malgorzata Schmidt MD, PhD

James Ziersch > Malgo Schmidt

12 Jan 2018

What about the rights of the children? Children, if present, seem to be pawns for extra welfare payments, in my experience!

Gavin Mitchell

11 Jan 2018

As there are invariably children who suffer as a result of these abuses, every thing should be included to ensure that they remain safe.
Drug and alcohol abuse is increasing in our society and as the drugs change and become more potent there needs to be this type of option available as a treatment.
Doing nothing will only increase the workload and danger to the emergency service workers, Ambulance and Police, who are at the front line. This can be seen by the increase in assaults on Ambulance personnel, remembering that a lot of the country personnel are Volunteers.
The mental health of these abusers is also questionable and a detention could be instigated via this system, however there is no compulsion to undertake treatment as is in this proposal.
Prevention, Treatment and rehabilitation is required to benefit everyone.

Gavin Mitchell > Gavin Mitchell

11 Jan 2018

Your comments are so true. The drugs act on the brains processes (Mental Health)and as you say AOD should include all forms of addictions.

Andris Banders

11 Jan 2018

Agreed that treatment is a preferred approach to eventual criminalization and that mandating community based treatment is reasonable where offers of voluntary treatment are not taken up and AOD affected behaviour continues to border on high risk. Do we need another act? Re the choice and scope of criteria - 'save the person's life' and 'incapable of making decisions about their substance use.' Is the first not covered under the Mental Health Act in terms of imminent harm to self and others? And the latter implies a long term incapability to manage a reasonable mode of living - already in realty applied under the Guardianship Act. Given the rolling into a "rough" single roof of AOD and MH this should be able to be worked out within and across portfolios using existing legislation.

Perhaps more important is a need to be much clearer re the medical examination which determines suitability for such restrictive treatment. How exactly are you judged not to be suited? How are you precisely judged to be suited and if you are, is this judgment not the same in effect of that which is currently exercised under certain authorities of the MH Act i.e. you are in a state where the appropriate option in a residential one?

Also, can we please be very clear that if such an act is replicated, 'substance' will be emphatically defined to include alcohol, or is this a piece of political opportunism to be seen to be doing something on the high media profile 'ice epidemic' which so many politicians have grabbed hold of because of its clearer lines, and therefore not having to address the problems created by that industry that provides political donations and has a much wider health and safety impact and burden.

Gavin Mitchell > Andris Banders

11 Jan 2018

I agree with what you have stated.
I somehow posted my original reply to myself.

Darrell O'Brien

11 Jan 2018

Users of drugs should have to pay for a weekly visit to a doctor to retain their drivers licence and their car should be impounded if they are caught driving . The doctor would have to notify registration department that person has been drug free for 3 or 6 months for driver to be able to sit for learners licence and P plates and drivers licence a period of 3 years to regain a licence. If caught driving without licence and has a drug or alcohol conviction send person to jail for 3 months+.

Tom Edwards

11 Jan 2018

Remove all support and let them stand on their own two feet. iIf they are that stupid we don't need them.