ReGen welcomes expansion of Victoria’s Drug Court (18/04/16)

Melbourne, VIC, 18th April, 2016 – UnitingCare ReGen today welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement of its next round of measures within its ‘Ice Action Plan’, including the expansion of Victoria’s Drug Court to Melbourne Magistrate’s Court. The $32 million initiative is one of a range of other measures to increase service sector capacity to respond to the impacts of methamphetamine use within Victorian communities.

Responding to the announcement, ReGen CEO Laurence Alvis said:

This is a welcome move by the Victorian Government and a significant investment in evidence-based approaches to alcohol and other drug-related offending.

As we’ve said before, we fully support increased accessibility of therapeutic jurisprudence measures for people whose offending is directly linked to their alcohol and other drug use. Providing people with more structured supports, strengthening pathways into treatment and clear accountability is both effective and efficient. It enables better outcomes for individuals, their families and the wider community and provides Government with long term cost savings, compared to incarceration.

The Dandenong Drug Court already saves Victorians $3.8 million per year. These savings, and those accruing from the establishment of the new court will provide the Government with a tremendous opportunity to invest in expanded treatment services and address longstanding concerns about sector capacity.

Within our own programs, we regularly see the capacity of alcohol and other drug treatment to support sustained improvements in people’s wellbeing, relationships and capacity to self-manage a range of behaviours, including offending.

When treatment is provided as part of a holistic response to the typically complex needs of people coming into contact with the justice system, major change is possible. We all benefit from this.

We are particularly pleased that the new Drug Court will increase the range of available options for people in Melbourne’s north and west. We look forward to working together with the new court to provide a range of evidence based responses that support sustainable change in people’s lives, reduce the risk of future reoffending & improve public safety.

We are also glad to see the Government continuing its commitment to addressing the impacts of methamphetamine use within Aboriginal communities. Through our involvement in initial pilot projects, we have seen the clear benefits of appropriately resourced supports to improve the accessibility (and effectiveness) of treatment services in enabling real progress for Aboriginal people affected by methamphetamine use, their communities and service providers.