Latest News from ReGen

News items regarding activities at ReGen.

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The following article has been published by Crosslight (the Uniting Church paper) in response to last night's Four Corners program on the private rehabilitation industry.  It features our CEO, Laurence, explaining that there is much more to AOD treatment than residential rehabilitation and the importance of holistic responses to people's typically complex needs.


An ABC Four Corners report that aired on Monday night revealed the high price parents pay to help their children fight ice addiction.

Many publicly-funded rehabilitation centres have long waiting lists, forcing some parents to turn to expensive private clinics.

According to the Four Corners report, the standard cost for a three-month treatment is $30,000. Many parents risk emptying their superannuation accounts or face the possibility of bankruptcy to fund their children’s treatment.

UnitingCare ReGen CEO Laurence Alvis said residential rehabilitation is not the only option for people seeking support for substance abuse.

Read more: Private pain of rehab: ReGen responds to Four Corners program (13/09/16)

Due to renovation works linked to the construction of our Mother and Baby unit, Curran Place will be closed for eight weeks from July 4, 2016. The unit will reopen in September. During the temporary closure, the process for people seeking residential withdrawal will be the same, but they will be referred to alternative services. ReGen, the Department of Health and Human Services and other treatment services have been working to ensure that no one seeking treatment will be denied treatment due to the temporary closure of Curran Place.  

For more information, see our updates for:

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has also issued a factsheet on the alternative arrangements involving other withdrawal services that will be in place during the temporary closure of Curran Place.

An edited version of the following article has been published on the Croakey health journalism website.croakey

The article is our response to recent media coverage and broader concerns about the marketing claims made by some for-profit AOD services.


As the capacity of mainstream media outlets to fund quality journalism continues to decline, they become increasingly reliant on cheap, externally sourced content. UnitingCare ReGen CEO Laurence Alvis highlights the increasing success of for-profit providers of alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment and drug testing services in securing free promotion (and occasional explicit endorsement) of their services by compliant (and unquestioning) media outlets. He argues that this success is distorting public understanding of the impacts of AOD use, the treatment options available and appropriate policy responses.

Read more: Decline of mainstream media a boon for for-profit drug services; a bust for informed debate...

The following letter to the editor was submitted on 27/07/16. It has not been published.

Given The Age’s recent interest in exposing poor service quality and exploitative marketing practices by for-profit providers of alcohol and other drug treatment services, I was surprised to see the paper publishing a blatant promotional piece for such a service (The Cabin Chiang Mai: back from the brink of addiction).

While positive stories about recovery are always welcome, this piece provides the same unfounded claims of effectiveness that perpetuate the myth that for-profit services provide better outcomes than those funded by government. The unquestioned claim that the service’s ‘sobriety success rates far outstrip those offered by Australian rehabilitation services’ is pure marketing and should not go unchallenged.

Any services promising ‘cures’ to vulnerable and desperate families should be held to account, particularly given the huge sums they charge for what is often little more than 12-step groups (that are available at no cost within all communities) together with accommodation and meals.
A hotel review where the journalist ‘was a guest of’ the establishment is one thing, a sponsored advertorial for a treatment service is another matter altogether. It does not belong in The Age.

Laurence Alvis
CEO, UnitingCare ReGen


Note: We did receive a response from Fairfax (on 01/08/16), apologising for the content of the article and advising that most concerning paragraph had been removed from the online version of the story. When we last checked, the paragraph was still included via the orginial link). We are currently seeking publication of a longer response to media coverage of for-profit services and will post the link, when it's available.

The latest round of our free program for family members affected by a loved one's methamphetamine use will be run at our Coburg site on August 17 (4-8pm).

In response to feedback from previous participants, we are trialling an after-hours program to make it more accessible for family members with work or other responsibilities during the day.

See our Client Courses page (at the bottom) for more information about the program or call Sam Mastro (03 9384 8895).

Thanks to all who participated in the training. We'll post details of our next round of Consumer Participation training on our home page soon.


The next ReGen Consumer Participation Training is on Monday July 4 and Tuesday July 5 at 26 Jessie Street Coburg.

The training focus is on the practice of Consumer Participation not only at UnitingCare ReGen, but also in the Victorian Alcohol and other Drug Sector (Edita Kennedy from the Association of Participation Service Users (APSU) will be delivering this session). As a foundation to alcohol and other drug policy, Brad Pearce (Program Manager at the Victorian Alcohol and Other Drug Agency (VAADA)) will present on the Victorian Alcohol and other Drug Sector. Jane Dicka (Drug Overdose Peer Educator at Harm Reduction Victoria) will deliver on Harm Reduction and Health Rights. Last but never least, Richard Gornall (Consumer Consultant) is delivering on Self Care and Consumer Participation.

For more details please view the Training Outline and Promotional Flyer.

Please pass on to interested clients.


As part of our partnership with Family Drug Help, we offer free educational and support groups for family members affected by a loved one's alcohol and other drug use.

The six-week InFocus (formerly Action for Recovery - ARC) program runs on Wednesdays at our Coburg site (6.00-8.00pm: booking required). See the InFocus page for more information and upcoming program dates.

The monthly Family and Friends Support Group is run at both our Coburg site and at the Watsonia Library. The Coburg group is on the first Wednesday of each month (6.00-7.45pm). The Watsonia group is on the first Wednesday of each month (7.00-9.00pm). See the Family and Friends page for more information and dates.