Attachment 1: Promoting Illicit Drug Prevention Initiatives Nationally
Promoting Illicit Drug Prevention Initiatives Nationally
Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation –Elements leading to a more successful rehabilitation outcome for Indigenous People in Northern Territory Communities
Aboriginal people have traditionally taken tribal members away from the sources of addictions, by means of ‘going out bush to their country” by using Remote Outstations.
Anecdotal feedback from Aboriginal people tells us that those with addictions who have participated in Town/city based rehabilitation programs insist that it was difficult to overcome addictions in Darwin because they could not avoid the problem of access to drugs/alcohol They say that the programs were too short to fully recover and that they could literally ‘jump the fence’ to obtain a supply of drugs/alcohol whilst they were residing at Rehabilitation Centres in town locations.
A suggested model comprises the following:
- Establish ‘Outstation Rehabilitation Facilities’ in remote locations to cater for regional drug and alcohol healing.
- Indigenous families would particularly like to be empowered to take young people in the early stages of addiction ‘out bush’ to a remote Outstation for extended periods of time 3-12 months to have rehabilitation and to regain a healthy lifestyle by hunting and fishing, and using bush-crafts. The location would be outstations, far away from transport and the supply of addictive substances.
- Counselling and/or referral to a community-linked remote Outstation Rehabilitation could be arranged with the affected person and their family.
- Arrangements could be made with Centrelink to provide payments for the Carers and the persons undergoing Outstation Rehabilitation.
- Establish a ‘HALFWAY HOUSE’ in each community, post outstation rehabilitation. People can return to their communities, following outstation rehabilitation, with a safety net in place during the critical transition phase, when reintegrating into community life.
- The Halfway House would be staffed by trained community members. It would be multifunctional, and would provide 24/7 support for addicted people and their families. Basic 12 step training should be provided to community members who would like to participate in the care and drug education of the community. The halfway house would refer people as necessary go to the outstation for rehabilitation, and would also assist the re entry to community life of those who are released from prison.
- Community based Night and Day Patrols could be instituted to be linked with a ‘Sobering Up Shelter’ at the ‘Halfway House’ within each community.
- Drug Education that could inform people of all ages about the harms and dangers of addictive substances could be provided to the community by the ‘Halfway House”.
- Community elders could be appointed as Justices of the Peace.
- There should be basic12 step training programs taught within each community so that there are sufficient numbers of trained carers available to staff a community-linked remote ‘Outstation Rehabilitation Facility’ and a ‘Halfway House’ within each Community.
- Community awareness and reporting of drug dealers/grog runners with the assistance of the police monitoring roads with sniffer dogs, would limit the available supply of drugs/grog to communities.
- Early community based interventions would reduce physical and mental health damage, crime, suicide and domestic violence. Incarcerations in prison and hospitalizations would be dramatically reduced. Indigenous people could receive 12 step training and would be able to participate in safeguarding their own community’s health and wellbeing.
The above early intervention measures would be cost effective, and would greatly reduce drug related court appearances and reduce the consequent difficulty of non-appearance at court of victims who do not wish their family members to go to prison.
Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation in Prisons in the Northern Territory
Statistics indicate that the vast majority of incarcerations (particularly for indigenous people) are for crimes that are related to drug/alcohol use. Given this emerging trend, it is recommended that consideration be given to making drug prevention/rehabilitation programs a compulsory part of prisoner rehabilitation, whilst in prison or in a youth detention centre'. Existing Darwin-based indigenous programs such as CAAPPS and FORWAARD could be effectively lengthened and moved into the prison/youth detention program. Prisoners on release should also be supported on return to their Communities by means of the 'halfway house' facility, described in the model above.