As we come to the end of 2020, we reflect on the year we’ve had. Bushfires, COVID-19, and the departure of long serving NADA CEO, Mr Larry Pierce. Larry has been instrumental in putting NADA in the position we are today, and I feel privileged to take over in representing and progressing the interests of the NADA membership.
This issue of the NADA Advocate is focusing on access and equity—ensuring that people can access the right care, at the right time, regardless of who they are or where they come from. We know that ensuring we’re able to provide the best possible services to people impacted by AOD is at the heart of what our members do.
COVID-19 has changed the way we deliver services and the way we live our lives. Virtual care has been essential in ensuring access to AOD treatment services this year. However, we know that virtual care can only ever be part of a range of treatment and support options provided by AOD services. We’ve heard from members that virtual care may not be well suited to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, culturally diverse groups, and vulnerable populations such as those who experience homelessness. As a sector, we need to ensure that the menu of options available will meet the needs of all people in the community.
NADA recently commissioned the University of NSW to undertake a study exploring the barriers and enablers associated with access and equity in AOD treatment in NSW. The report provides great recommendations for NADA and our members to understand what supports successful entry into treatment, supporting people to stay in treatment, and maintaining those positive outcomes after leaving. We’ll be working in partnership In order to ensure we can further reduce those barriers to access and equity in treatment, the sector needs to be appropriately resourced.with members over the next 12 months to support the implementation of the recommendations. Essential to this implementation will be learning from the experiences of people who access treatment, and who have, or do, support others to access treatment.
In order to ensure we can further reduce those barriers to access and equity in treatment, the sector needs to be appropriately resourced. Increased and sustainable funding is the sector’s number one advocacy priority. The Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’ spoke with many of our members as well as people who need access to treatment, and their families. The recommendations from the Special Commission call for significant investment in treatment, as well as a range of other measures to ensure that people can access the best available care when they need it. NADA has called on the NSW Government to develop a long-term plan for incremental increases in funding for the AOD sector. A longer-term approach will ensure that we have the capacity and workforce growth to respond to demand.
2020 has been a challenging year, and we hope that the AOD workforce will take a much needed break over the coming months, and ensure your own health and wellbeing, so you can continue to support the communities we serve.Best wishes from the NADA staff and board and we look forward to connecting with you all in 2021.