Making an application
The Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Act provides for detention and compulsory treatment of people with severe alcohol or drug dependence in very limited circumstances.
You may know someone who has severe alcohol or drug problems and want to make an application under the Act.
The following information will:
- help you decide whether the Act might help the person
- explain how to make an application to the Magistrates’ Court for a detention and treatment order.
Before you make an application for an order
Before you do anything, you should get expert advice from an alcohol and other drugs service or you can call DirectLine on 1800 888 236 for information, advice or referral. The Magistrates’ Court will only make a detention and treatment order in very limited circumstances.
You should also talk to the person and tell them your concerns. They might not be aware they have a serious problem. You should do everything you can to help them get voluntary treatment for their alcohol or drug problems before you apply for a detention and treatment order.
- What does the Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Act do?
- The Act provides for a brief period of detention and compulsory treatment (up to 14 days) of people with severe alcohol or drug dependence in a treatment centre.
The purpose is to give the person the chance to withdraw from the alcohol or drugs, recover their capacity and engage in voluntary treatment.
- Who is the Act for?
- The Act is for people with the most severe alcohol or drug dependence who:
- urgently require treatment to save their life or prevent serious damage to their health; and
- are incapable of making decision about their alcohol or drug use and personal health welfare and safety due primarily to their substance dependence.
It is intended to be a last chance for people when all other available options for voluntary treatment have been tried, but didn’t work.
- Who does the Act not apply to?
- The Act is not for people who can make choices about their alcohol or drug use, even where they have used alcohol or drugs at dangerous levels over a long period of time or where they regularly binge drink.
The Act cannot be used just because people make bad choices, such as refusing treatment.
- How can I tell if the Act might help someone I know?
- It can be difficult to know whether someone is so severely alcohol or drug dependent that detention and treatment might help. You will need to get expert advice from an alcohol and other drug service or you can call DirectLine on 1800 888 236 for information, advice or referral.
- Who can make an application for a detention and treatment order?
- Any adult person (over 18 years) can apply to the Magistrates’ Court for a person to be placed on a detention and treatment order.
If you want to make an application, there are certain things you must do. Please follow the Steps required for making an application.