Developing therapeutic community (TC) programs in Australia for individuals on opioid substitution treatment (OST) has been a process spanning 16 years for the We Help Ourselves (WHOS) organization. Supported reduction of OST and stabilization services for those remaining on OST are offered to this population and continue to break down barriers of discrimination in offering the same services to all drug using populations. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
A number of research projects have been undertaken with the WHOS Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) TC services profiling clients accessing the services; looking at health benefits whilst in the programs; looking at retention and completion rates and conducting an evaluation post-treatment for one of the two programs currently being offered.
The excerpts from the research findings are presented identifying the complexity of individuals accessing WHOS services; highlighting the benefits for individuals on OST and assessing the effectiveness of the TC model for the client groups.
Working with multiple complex needs clients on OST in a residential TC environment offers many challenges and opportunity to work with an array of issues that present before during and after the residential stay. Provision of a history and overview of the WHOS OTP TC services and recent enhancements to these programs highlight a continuum of care for the individual on OST.
Stubley, C. and Popple, G. (2017), "Providing therapeutic community initiatives for individuals on opioid substitution treatment", Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 79-86. https://doi.org/10.1108/TC-04-2016-0009
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