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addiction medicine (drug and alcohol)

Western Health intranet policies and procedures

Victoria's Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Act 2010

  • The Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Act 2010 (the Act) provides for a brief period (up to 14 days) of detention and treatment of people with severe substance dependence in a treatment centre (currently St Vincent’s hospital Melbourne) where this is necessary as a matter of urgency to save the person’s life or prevent serious damage to their health.
  • The Act only applies to people with the most severe substance dependence who are incapable of making decisions about their substance use and personal health, welfare and safety due primarily to their substance dependence. Detention must be the only means by which treatment can be provided and there must be no less restrictive means reasonably available to ensure the treatment.
  • The purpose is to give the person access to medically-assisted withdrawal, time to recover capacity to make decisions about their substance use, and the opportunity to engage in voluntary treatment.
  • It is expected that emergency department staff may identify individuals who have severe alcohol or drug dependence. In the first instance, they should seek expert advice from an alcohol and other drugs specialist, DirectLine (1800 888 236) or the Victorian Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (1800 812 804) about whether the Act might apply.
  • The Magistrates’ Court makes detention and treatment orders.
  • The process to initiate an application to the Court commences with a recommendation made by a prescribed registered medical practitioner. The purpose of the recommendation is to provide evidence to the court that all the criteria for detention and treatment apply to the person. The following medical practitioners have been prescribed to make recommendations—
    • Fellows or affiliates of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP)—psychiatrists
    • Fellows of the Chapter of Addiction Medicine—addiction medicine specialists
    • Medical practitioners engaged by Victoria Police to provide medical care to persons in police custody—custodial medical officers.
  • Detailed information about the Act and the process for making an application are available at SDTA
addiction_medicine.txt · Last modified: 2021/06/17 13:02 by gary1