How vulnerable is the alcohol and other drug treatment service sector?

A comparison between government and non-government providers

Many community, health and welfare services are provided on behalf of government by non-government organisations (NGOs). For alcohol and other drug treatment, NGOs provide 70% of all treatment episodes in Australia (the remaining 30% are provided by government services). But are NGOs different from their government service provider counterparts in terms of the treatment they provide, their workforce, and the way they are funded? Understanding differences between government and NGO providers is not only important to ensure that a comprehensive suite of treatment services is available and meets individual treatment needs, but to better understand the funding arrangements that provide alcohol and other drugs treatment services with security and sustainability.

This presentation will examine differences between Australian government and NGO alcohol and drug treatment providers in terms of (1) their treatment types and associated treatment settings, (2) their workforce, and (3) their procurement arrangements. We will also examine the extent to which treatment services are considered ‘vulnerable’; particularly whether NGOs are more vulnerable than government providers. Understanding systematic and structural differences between these systems of care is important for future treatment planning.

Dr Katinka van de Ven (BA, MA (Crim), MSc (Clin Psych), PhD) is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Rural Criminology at the University of New England, and a Visiting Fellow at the Drugs Policy Modelling Program (DPMP), UNSW Social Policy Research Centre. Katinka has extensive experience in research on alcohol and other drug treatment service systems, including projects surrounding procurement arrangements, workforce and treatment outcomes. She also specializes in the use and supply of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs), which includes projects surrounding steroids and the law, harm reduction policies, and improving healthcare services for people who use enhancement drugs. Katinka is the Editor-in-Chief of Performance Enhancement & Health and the Director of the Human Enhancement Drugs Network (HEDN).

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