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Challenge: drugs, alcohol and addictions

In 2017, drug and alcohol misuse accounted for 3% of total disease burden and cost the Australian community $9.9 billion in health care and lost productivity. The burden from substance use disorders increased by 24.7 per cent between 2010 and 2017. For substance use disorders, the burden peaks early in life (before the age of 30), is maintained through middle age before tapering in later years.

Mindgardens Model of Care

The Mindgardens model of care is built around an “integrated system of care” to address physical, mental health, drug and alcohol and neurological disorders concurrently. This is achieved through Apex clinics, community hubs, technology services and systems of interaction with Primary Health Care Networks and their associated infrastructure across geographical regions. Key features include the use of data to develop models of precision medicine and the involvement of all patients in clinical trials to rapidly advance our understanding of the brain and deliver new treatments. Apex clinics allow the availability of the best technology for neuroimaging, neurophysiology, neurogenetics, analytical chemistry, drug development, brain stimulation and computer simulation to enhance research and treatment opportunities. This systems-based model strongly recognizes the role of primary care as first point of contact and as facilitators of driving improvements in the coordination of more patient centred care between primary care and specialist, community and technology services.

Subject to funding, Mindgardens will address drug and alcohol issues through a number of reforms:

  • Smoking Cessation: A new comprehensive program of smoking cessation for vulnerable populations using state of the art approaches is envisioned including Vaping Technology, technology communications, new medications and behavioural incentive programs that will increase cessation.
  • Physical Health improvements: By creating new and innovative interfaces with primary care, this approach will ensure improved comprehensive physical and dental health.
  • Psychosocial development: The promotion of cognitive health and well-being will develop and adapt peer- based support and recovery approaches in both Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Services. Priorities include identifying strategies to ensure the promotion of cognitive remediation approaches combined with strategies to reduce problematic substance use.
  • Addressing the complexities associated with methamphetamine psychosis and methamphetamine dependence with an integrated service to provide combined input for this complex treatment population that currently falls between the two separate services. It would aim to develop a new and innovative approach that was focussed on support and ongoing treatment for individuals with a Methamphetamine Associated Psychosis with the aim of ensuring substantially better outcomes with assertive treatment of both psychosis and methamphetamine misuse.