A new $2.5 million Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) at The University of Queensland will focus on increasing access to cost-effective, evidence-based treatment for alcohol and other drug use.
Funding for the new CRE in alcohol and other drug sector capacity building is being provided by the National Health and Medical Research Council.
CRE Director Professor Leanne Hides said the aim is to understand what treatments and services work best, increase capacity and deliver services in a cost-effective way.
“In Australia, alcohol and other drug use is the number one risk factor for death and disability across all age groups and costs more than $23.5 billion annually,” Professor Hides said.
“While alcohol and drug treatment services across the country have increased by 45 per cent over the last 10 years, modelling shows the treatment needs of between 44 and 73 per cent of people who could benefit are not being met.”
Professor Hides said that’s where the new CRE comes into play, by focusing on the outcomes of treatment we can help to make sure people are receiving treatment and that it’s the most effective for their needs.
“Evidence shows restructuring healthcare around client outcomes has been successful in providing high quality care for a range of physical and mental health conditions,” Professor Hides said.
CRE Co-Director, Associate Professor Peter Kelly from the University of Wollongong (UOW) said: “Our CRE will provide the capacity needed to help shift the focus away from counting episodes of care, towards identifying the ways in which data and research can improve the quality and outcomes of our alcohol and other drug services.
“We know treatment is effective, but we still have a lot to learn about what works best for whom.”
Associate Professor Kelly said the Centre would also promote collaboration and partnership in the field.
“The funding means we can continue to conduct research focused on facilitating access to treatment and improving clinical decisions in drug and alcohol treatment,” Associate Professor Kelly said.
“This involves bringing together people with lived experience, clinicians, and leading national and international researchers in the field.”
The CRE is being delivered in partnership with University of Wollongong, University of New South Wales, University of Newcastle, King’s College London, Lives Lived Well, SMART Recovery and the Queensland and New South Wales Network of Drug and Alcohol Agencies.
Read more about the new CRE at University of Queensland.