Alcohol and Other Drugs

As the trusted voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria, VACCHO advocates strongly for access to culturally safe service provision free from stigma and discrimination for Mob living in Victoria. 

VACCHO works together to ensure the needs of our Community living with alcohol and other drug concerns are at the forefront of legislative change and policy implementation.

Key Work:

  • Decriminalisation of public intoxication – VACCHO united with Community and other Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) advocating for the decriminalisation of public intoxication after the avoidable tragic death of Aunty Tanya Day under police custody. With the abolishment of the public drunkenness offence, the Labor government invited VACCHO, alongside The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS), the Brotherhood of St Laurence, and the Victoria Police to advise on a health-based response as part of the Expert Reference Group (ERG). The ERG’s Seeing the Clear Light of Day report outlined the group’s advice and recommendations for a health-based alternative to addressing public intoxication. Since the release of the report, several expert working and advisory groups have been established to best inform the implementation of a health-based response. VACCHO currently sits on the Aboriginal Advisory Group to ensure the implementation includes the cultural safety and self-determined voices of the Aboriginal community.
  • Health-based response to public intoxication – With the defunding of ACCO-based sobering-up centres a decade ago, the health sector faces the challenges of providing an effective health-based response to public intoxication in a severely under-resourced climate. VACCHO continues to give advice to the government-established working and advisory groups to inform a culturally safe and strong self-determination foundation to implementing a health-based response to public intoxication. We continue to work with Aboriginal and mainstream sector stakeholders to ensure that the development of infrastructure, resources, and workforce development prioritises Aboriginal led services and initiatives.
  • Harm reduction of psychoactive substance use – Under the Victorian Government’s Department of Health Koolin Balit: Victorian Government strategic directions for Aboriginal health 2012–2022, VACCHO convened a series of workshops and training sessions aimed at harm reduction of psychoactive substance use among the Aboriginal community and to strengthen cultural safety in Alcohol and other Drugs (AOD) service delivery. The findings from the harm reduction and training activities were detailed in VACCHO’s 2015 report Not everyone has that support: An evaluation of a series of harm reduction and AOD awareness activities within Victorian Aboriginal communities. 

Useful links

Your Health: Alcohol and Other Drugs

Useful tools, resources and training to support Community and our ACCO Members care for their clients throughout their AOD journey to healing and recovery.

Member Services: Programs and Projects

Working collaboratively with Members, Government and various organisations to develop and deliver programs that create better health outcomes for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria.

Our Vision: On Solid Ground

Our five-year strategy focused on strength, sustainability and innovation for generational change.

Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing

Coordinating a collaborative approach to the expansion of Social and Emotional Wellbeing services in Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and mainstream mental health services.