Home > Mandatory alcohol and drug treatment: what is it and does it work?

Vuong, Thu and Ritter, Alison and Hughes, Caitlin and Shanahan, Marian and Barrett, Liz (2019) Mandatory alcohol and drug treatment: what is it and does it work? Sydney: Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW. Bulletin no. 27.

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Mandatory (or compulsory) treatment is a tool often reached for by governments during moments of alcohol and/or illicit drug crises. It has come to the fore as a potential policy panacea in recent times in response to ongoing concern about the rise of crystal methamphetamine (“ice”) use, regional concerns over alcohol abuse, and the desire to address alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems in young people.

However, in public debate there is a significant lack of clarity about what mandatory treatment is, who benefits from it, and how it might be implemented. In addition, there is confusion about the existing evidence-base and the extent to which mandatory treatment is an effective and cost-effective approach for people with AOD problems.

The aim of this bulletin is to:
1. Provide an overview of the various models of mandatory treatment currently used in Australia and internationally
2. Summarise the evidence base for each of these models
3. Assess the relative merits of the different types of mandatory treatment models, especially their effectiveness in addressing AOD problems.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Guideline, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
General / Comprehensive, Drug therapy, Treatment method, Psychosocial treatment method, Rehabilitation/Recovery
Identification #
Bulletin no. 27
13 p.
Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW
Place of Publication
Related (external) link

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