ReGen welcomes call for expansion of Victoria’s Drug Court (13/03/15)

Melbourne, VIC, 13th March 2015 – UnitingCare ReGen, the lead alcohol and other drug treatment and education agency of UnitingCare Victoria & Tasmania, today welcomed the release of the final report of the Evaluation of the Drug Court of Victoria and the call by Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen for the expansion of the Drug Court model to other areas.

The KPMG report found that Drug Treatment Orders issued by the court provide a cost-effective alternative to sentencing and, most importantly, contribute to substantial reductions in future offending and improvements in participants’ health and wellbeing.

In launching the report yesterday, Chief Magistrate Lauritsen reportedly claimed that Drug Treatment Orders were the ‘only way’ to reduce alcohol and other drug related offending outside of prison.

Responding to Chief Magistrate Lauritsen’s reported comments, ReGen CEO Laurence Alvis said:

It’s terrific to see the research evidence for what we have long known anecdotally to be an effective intervention for people whose offending is linked to long-term alcohol and other drug (AOD) dependence. Hopefully, this report will help ensure the expansion of the Drug Court model so that its benefits are not just available to people who happen to live in Dandenong.

While it’s important to recognise the effectiveness of this model in supporting long-term change in people’s lives, it is misleading to suggest that this is the only option available. External evaluation of ReGen’s Torque non-residential rehabilitation program for people involved in the justice system has found that it also provides an effective, evidence-based, intensive intervention that contributes to reduced alcohol and other drug use, reduced AOD-related offending and improved health and wellbeing for people who complete the six-week program.

ReGen fully supports the expansion of therapeutic jurisprudence and diversion options within the Victorian Justice system, but it is essential that we focus on providing a range of targeted, evidence-based responses to AOD-related offending, not prioritise one at the expense of all others.

Through our diversion, withdrawal, counselling, education and rehabilitation programs, ReGen works closely with Magistrate’s courts, Community Corrections and other service providers. There is still much work to be done, such as the development of more targeted treatment programs for people affected by methamphetamine dependence, but together, we are working towards the sort of comprehensive, integrated interventions that address both the causes and effects of AOD-related offending on individuals, families and the wider Victorian community.


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For further information or comment please contact Laurence Alvis (03 9384 8880) or Media Contact Paul Aiken (0435 875 818).