Can alcohol and drug treatment services be culturally competent?

Jul 11, 2015

The Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) services sector needs to be able to respond more effectively to the complex needs of people from refugee and migrant backgrounds – asserted Michal Morris in her presentation ‘Can Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services be Culturally Competent?’ at the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association conference.

Michal highlighted that AOD services are being underutilised due to the multiple barriers experienced by refugee and migrant populations. This is because the systems in place do not take into account cultural backgrounds and migration experiences. [pullquote]Cultural competence has been absent from government policy for the AOD treatment sector for the past ten years and so little has been done in this field to build the sectors’ skills to work more effectively with clients from migrant and refugee backgrounds.[/pullquote] In her presentation, Michal examined the ways in which other Victorian services – hospitals and aged care – respond to diversity.  By looking towards these services as examples, the AOD service sector can find practical solutions to enable them to become more culturally competent. Michal recognised that there also needs to be goodwill within the AOD sector to change and develop practices to respond to their culturally and linguistically diverse clients. Further research within this sector is needed to gain a better understanding of what a cultural competent service should ‘look like’. These findings can then be incorporated into developing a new service model. Presenter: Michal Morris – General Manager at the Centre of Culture, Ethnicity & Health and North Richmond Community Health. Michal has also been responsible for the AOD program at NRCH. Conference:  Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association conference 2015 Conference theme: Evolution: Innovation and reflection in Victoria’s alcohol and other drug sector

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