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Preventing and treating drug and alcohol harms in remote communities

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Date Commenced:
Expected Date of Completion:
Project Supporters:

Far West Medicare Local

Drug Type:
Project Members: 
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Visiting Professorial Fellow
Ph 02 9385 0333
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Ms Alice Munro
Adjunct Associate Lecturer
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Dr Courtney Breen
Adjunct Senior Lecturer
Project Main Description: 

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) have been invited to work with 5 remote NSW communities to retrospectively evaluate a suite of interventions aimed at prevention of drug and alcohol harms from 2012-2014. This research will identify what projects were delivered, what they cost, if they were effective and how the process could be improved.

In addition to this, this research will review an Aboriginal residential rehabilitation service in remote Western NSW. This review will critique the current model of care to identify strengths and limitations. Several recommendations will be made to continue to improve outcomes, both in terms of evidence-based service delivery and routine collection of high quality outcome and process measures.

Project Collaborators: External: 

Dr Julaine Allan
The Lyndon Community

Orana Haven Corporation Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre

  • Describe trends in crime and health data across all Breaking the Cycle program sites and its relationship to the implementation of program activities
  • Description of Breaking the Cycle programs implemented in NSW from 2012-2014
  • Snapshot of client intake data for an Aboriginal residential rehabilitation treatment service
  • Strengths and limitations of Aboriginal residential rehabilitation service in remote Western NSW
Design and Method: 
Setting: Bourke and Brewarrina are two distinct communities located on the banks of the Darling and Barwon Rivers in Western NSW, some 800kms north west of Sydney. In 2011, Bourke had a total population of 2465, with 793 (32%) identifying as Aboriginal and Brewarrina had total population of 1254 with 762 (61%) identifying as Aboriginal (ABS, 2011).  The Bourke Alcohol Working Group (BAWG) was formed in 2008 in recognition of the adverse impact of alcohol misuse within the Bourke community. The Brewarrina Alcohol Working Group formed in 2012. Bourke LGA is consistently identified as having 
the highest rates of alcohol-related assault in 
NSW and double the rates of alcohol-related
 hospitalisations (Senserrick et al, 2012). 

Community program evaluation:

  • Analysis of routinely collected data – BOCSAR and NSW Health
  • Collection and analysis of process data
  • Description and analysis of the mechanism of engagement between the communities and the researchers


Aboriginal residential rehabilitation review:

  • Qualitative interviews with workers and clients
  • Review of client intake data and other relevant process data
  • Review policies and procedures
  • Observation
  • One paper submitted to Australian Journal of Rural Health
  • International conference presentation – Global Addiction Conference – Venice
  • National conference presentation – National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Conference (NIDAC)
  • Article about research in NADA magazine
  • Strengthen how community programs in rural Aboriginal drug and alcohol program are developed and implemented
  • Empower the communities to better understand the impacts that substance misuse has in Western NSW
  • To utilise results to advocate for more effective, evidence based drug and alcohol prevention and treatment services in remote Western NSW at the local, state and federal level
  • Develop the evidence for strengthening Aboriginal residential rehabilitation services in Australia
Project Status: