Victorian-first alcohol and drug treatment service expands to Port Phillip

Friday, 1 February 2019

Residents in South Eastern Melbourne will have access to a free Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) treatment program in St Kilda from March.

The Victorian-first program, called ResetLife, will help tackle harm caused by alcohol and drug use, and is part of an Australian Government National Ice Action Strategy funding package for AOD services across South Eastern Melbourne.

The intensive outpatient treatment program has a strong evidence base. It was developed in the 1980s by the US Matrix Institute on Addictions in response to the cocaine and methamphetamine epidemic.

The program for adults involves 16 weeks of intensive structured treatment, followed by 36 weeks of continuing care, via individual and group sessions for clients and family members.

“Commencing in Frankston last year – and now expanding to Port Phillip - we’re the first in Victoria to offer this ‘gold standard’ alcohol and drug treatment in our community,” said South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN) CEO Elizabeth Deveny.

“At present, there’s a real gap between acute hospital treatment and low-intensity services for people with drug and alcohol problems. There’s strong community interest and a call to address this need.

“This new treatment service will not only help address this gap, but form an important part of our stepped care approach. This means that people will be able to step up into higher intensity or step down into lower intensity services, as their needs change.”

The outpatient treatment program in Port Phillip will be delivered by First Step, who were successful in the open tender process conducted by SEMPHN. ResetLife in Frankston is run by Peninsula Health.

First Step CEO, Patrick Lawrence, says his team is keen to implement the new program:

“First Step’s workforce includes general practitioners, mental health nurses, psychologists, hep C nurses, and lawyers who work together to address clients’ mental health, substance use and related issues.  This means we can deliver a comprehensive suite of services to address every stage of recovery from addiction. This program really does have the potential to save lives in the Port Phillip region.”

ResetLife is free of charge to consumers and their support people in South Eastern Melbourne, and a GP referral isn’t needed. Access is via SEMPHN’s Access & Referral (ph: 1800 862 363) during business hours.  

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