The National Alcohol Treatment Guidelines for Indigenous Australians were developed to provide essential and reliable information and guidance on how to deliver culturally respectful health care, and how to identify and respond to emergency and non-urgent alcohol-related health problems experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. The guidelines support health services to:
- Educate health care workers, clients and community members about how alcohol can cause or complicate many physical and mental health conditions
- Educate health care workers, community members and clients about the risks and harms associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Use ‘best practice’ clinical screening and assessment tools, medical regimes and therapies
- Plan for and respond to alcohol-related emergency situations
- Plan for and provide alcohol-related interventions, therapies and referrals Build a local referral and community knowledge base
- Develop relevant harm prevention and harm reduction alcohol messages across the age spectrum
- Access other free or low-cost and culturally appropriate alcohol information and health resources
Healthcare providers servicing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander client base now have a suite of alcohol education, screening, assessment and clinical treatment tools packaged into one easy-to-use resource. Through attendance at workshops and conference participation, more than 1400 participants were informed about and trained in the use of the Guidelines. The workshops included Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants. Each workshop was reviewed, adapted and tailored to meet the needs of the particular groups.
The National Alcohol Treatment Guidelines were developed through Australia-wide consultations with Indigenous and non-Indigenous healthcare providers, educators, clinicians, researchers, and Indigenous community members. Funding sources for this project included the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, Alcohol and Indigenous Programs Section of the Drug Strategy Branch and the CRC for Aboriginal Health. Partners organisations included the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council Inc., Drug and Alcohol Services, SA Flinders Consulting Pty Ltd, Flinders University and a national clinical advisory group comprising key Aboriginal and mainstream expert stakeholders.