Between 2005 and 2010 AIVL completed two major initiatives in the area of consumer participation in drug treatment settings. These two initiatives are the Treatment Service Users (TSU) Project Phases One and Two.
The TSU Project Phase One was a national peer-driven social research initiative undertaken in collaboration with the National Centre in HIV Social Research (NCHSR) which involved a mixed method survey of over 60 drug treatment service providers and approximately 180 treatment service users in NSW, WA and VIC. The services involved were from a variety of treatment settings and funding and geographical contexts. This project revealed a significant level of overall support for the concept of consumer participation in drug treatment settings among both service providers and consumers but major gaps in the levels of communication and engagement necessary to support meaningful involvement of consumers. The project also found many services were already engaged in low level consumer participation activities but supporting the greater involvement of consumers in roles that involved decision making was met with significant resistance from service providers. The final report from the TSU Project Phase One can be found here (PDF, 1.1Mb)
Following the publication of the final report for the TSU Project Phase One in 2008, AIVL was successful in gaining further funding to undertake a second phase of the TSU Project aimed at further investigating some of the key findings from the first phase. The TSU Project Phase Two involved a further collaboration between AIVL and the NCHSR to commission and evaluate a series of consumer participation demonstration projects in a variety of drug treatment settings. Despite achieving a range of positive outcomes, all the demonstration projects struggled to achieve their stated aims and objectives. While at baseline both services and consumers identified the capacity and skills of consumers as potentially being one of the main barriers to meaningful consumer participation, at final evaluation, the emphasis became focused on whether the service itself was ‘fit’ and prepared for genuine and meaningful engagement with their consumers. The final report from the TSU Project Phase Two can be found here (PDF, 2.9 Mb)
For further information on the TSU Projects please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Presentation by Annie Madden, delivered at the 2006 APSAD Conference, is now available online (PDF, 1139 Kb)