Skip to main content
1 Feb. 2023

MEDIA RELEASE Alice Springs’ Crisis Response Planning Needs Focused Investment in the Alcohol and Other Drugs Treatment Sector

1 February 2023

The Association of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies NT (AADANT) is the peak body for nongovernment Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) treatment services in the Northern Territory (NT).

We represent over 20 organisations providing drug and alcohol treatment and support to families and clients throughout the NT. In determining an effective, long-term response to the issues caused by alcohol in Alice Springs, AADANT is calling for an immediate and ongoing investment in the alcohol and other drug treatment sector. Funding is urgently needed across the Territory in service infrastructure, program development, and workforce support to provide the effective, fit-for-purpose and culturally-safe responses that will drive the required change in they way people use alcohol. The recent focus by both media and politicians on the spike in alcohol related harms and increase in social disorder in Alice Springs has brought into sharp focus the need for significant investment in the alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment sector. While much attention has (rightfully) been given to such issues as increased rates of alcohol-related harm, property crime, and domestic and family violence, there has been limited attention paid to the services available to support change for those people who are using alcohol in a harmful way.

To date, the primary focus for addressing alcohol management issues has been squarely on supply reduction measures. While it is acknowledged that this is an important part of the equation, without investment in the demand and harm reduction areas we will not see significant, sustainable change in the problematic outcomes related to alcohol use. Peter Burnheim, Executive Officer for AADANT, provided the following example that highlights how dire the need is: “At present, one of our residential rehabilitation services – DASA – in Alice Springs has had to evacuate their clients to another facility as half the building condemned and the other half is infested with bed bugs and German cockroaches. Their sobering-up shelter is not fit-for-purpose and is having to turn away clients due to a lack of capacity. We need meaningful investment for our sector to be able to provide the level of support needed to help people address their alcohol issues – without these services being properly resourced and supported, how do we expect to make any change?”