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Alcohol and other drugs

First Nations specific alcohol and other drugs treatment services 

One of our priorities is tackling harmful alcohol and other drugs (AOD) use which can have lasting effects on individuals, families and communities. This can affect people in a variety of ways, including adverse health and wellbeing, and community safety. 

Through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) the NIAA supports First Nations people to tackle these issues by funding culturally-safe, holistic, and trauma-informed AOD treatment and support services. 

These services include:  

  • early intervention and prevention activities  
  • residential rehabilitation  
  • day-based and outreach services  
  • AOD counselling  
  • advocacy and referral  
  • case management  
  • transitional aftercare  
  • education. 

Under the Closing the Gap Implementation Plan, the NIAA’s Strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AOD Treatment Services Initiative will provide additional funding to support First Nations AOD treatment services. In June 2023, an extensive national consultation process related to the Initiative ended. Led by a First Nations-owned organisation, the process was undertaken to identify key non-government and government AOD treatment sector stakeholders’ views about the highest priority needs and gaps in the treatment sector.  

The information gathered will inform current and future funding and policy directions in relation to the Initiative. Based on key findings from the consultations, the initial rollout of Initiative funding will boost funding for IAS-funded First Nations AOD treatment services, including support for service delivery and enabling improvements to data capabilities. The NIAA continues to work closely with state and territory governments and the AOD sector in considering further possible approaches for addressing other priority needs identified by the AOD sector.  

First Nations AOD policy 

The NIAA is committed to:  

  • Reducing the impacts of drug and alcohol-related harm for individuals, families and communities.  
  • Improving life outcomes for First Nations people across Australia.  

This includes continuing to ensure our work aligns with the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap.  

To do this we work with our regional offices and a range of stakeholders to contribute to and develop AOD policy. 

To ensure culturally-appropriate AOD care for First Nations clients in mainstream treatment services, we: 

  • Work with the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care on broader AOD treatment policy.  
  • Have responsibility for input and responses to Government and stakeholder reviews. 

We also contribute to building the evidence base around First Nations AOD treatment through investment in research and evaluation. This includes the following reports:


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