Publications & Reports

Beliefs and attitudes of drug and alcohol clinicians when considering referral of Aboriginal clients to involuntary drug and alcohol treatment: A qualitative study.

Lee KSK, Bullen LM, Zheng C, Dawson A, Munro A, Conigrave KM
NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Involuntary drug and alcohol treatment occurs in many countries and its role is often controversial. This can be a particular concern in relation to First Nations or other culturally distinct populations. This study explores beliefs and attitudes of drug and alcohol clinicians when considering referral of Aboriginal Australians to involuntary drug and alcohol treatment in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. METHODS: The Involuntary Drug and Alcohol Treatment program (IDAT) is legislated by the NSW Drug and Alcohol Treatment Act 2007. There are two IDAT units-in urban (Sydney, four beds) and regional NSW (Orange, eight beds). NSW Health drug and alcohol clinicians who had referred clients to IDAT between 2016 and 2018 were invited to participate in a semi-structured 1:1 interview. Eleven clinicians (n = 2, male) from six local health districts (urban through to remote) agreed to participate. A descriptive qualitative analysis of responses was conducted. RESULTS: Two key themes summarised the beliefs and attitudes that clinicians reported influencing them when considering referral of Aboriginal Australians to involuntary drug and alcohol treatment in NSW: (i) dilemma between saving someone’s life and being culturally safe; and (ii) need for holistic wrap-around care. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Almost all clinicians were worried that being in IDAT would further erode their Aboriginal client’s autonomy and be retraumatising. Strategies are needed to support the involvement of Aboriginal-specific services in IDAT processes and ensure local support options for clients on discharge. Future research should examine the effectiveness, acceptability and feasibility of involuntary drug and alcohol treatment programs.

Link to publisher’s web site

Publication

  • Journal: Drug and Alcohol Review
  • Published: 04/10/2022
  • Volume: Epub ahead of print

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