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LESSONS & TOPICS

CHCAOD001 – I. Establish the Context for AOD Work

CHCAOD001 – I. Establish the Context for AOD Work

Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) work refers to services that address the use, misuse and abuse of alcohol and other drugs. AOD work involves a range of activities, such as:

  • Prevention
  • Harm reduction
  • Treatment 
  • Recovery support services

In understanding AOD work, AOD workers should know the following: 

Individual practice for AOD work
Organisational practice for AOD work

Individual practice for AOD work refers to the activities and approaches that AOD workers use when working with clients experiencing AOD use and addiction-related issues.

Here are some common individual practices for AOD work:

  • Assessment. AOD workers use various assessment tools and techniques to do the following:
  • Determine the severity of substance use and addiction-related issues
  • Identify co-occurring mental health problems
  • Assess the readiness for change.
  • Treatment planning. Based on the assessment, AOD workers develop a treatment plan that outlines the goals, objectives and interventions needed to address the client’s needs. The treatment plan should be collaborative, individualised and based on evidence-based practices.
  • Counselling and therapy. AOD workers provide counselling and therapy to achieve the following:
  • Help clients understand the underlying issues contributing to their substance use
  • Develop coping skills
  • Work towards recovery.
  • Continuing care. AOD workers provide ongoing support and follow-up care to help individuals maintain their recovery and prevent relapse.

Organisational practice for AOD work

Organisational practice for AOD work refers to the policies, procedures and practices organisations implement to support effective and efficient AOD work delivery.

Here are common organisational practices for AOD work:

staff training and development

evidence-based practices

Collaboration and coordination

Accessibility and equity

  • Staff training and development.
  • AOD organisations should provide ongoing training and development opportunities for staff to: 
    • Enhance their AOD-related work knowledge
    • Advance their AOD-related work skills
    • Develop their AOD-related work competencies
  • Evidence-based practices.
    • AOD organisations should use evidence-based practices grounded in research and effectively address substance use disorders. This ensures that services are based on the best available evidence and are more likely to produce positive outcomes.
  • Collaboration and coordination.
    • AOD organisations should collaborate with other organisations and stakeholders to ensure that services are coordinated and integrated. This may involve partnerships with healthcare providers, social service agencies and community-based organisations.
  • Accessibility and equity.
    • AOD organisations should ensure that services are accessible and equitable. This means all individuals have equal access to services regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic status. 

The individual and organisational practice of AOD work will give you an idea of what you should do as an AOD worker and expert in your organisation. To effectively perform these tasks, this learner guide will help you build knowledge about AOD work.

In this chapter, the focus is on establishing the context for AOD work. This will include the following discussions:

  • Research, analyse and maintain up-to-date knowledge and awareness of the social, political, economic and legal contexts of AOD
  • Research and analyse the impacts of AOD policy frameworks on AOD work practice
  • Apply an understanding of the historical and social constructs of alcohol and drugs and the changes in alcohol and drug use
  1. 1 Research, Analyse and Maintain Up-To-Date Knowledge and Awareness of the AOD Context

A person working on laptop

Alcohol and other drugs (AOD) context refers to factors influencing AOD use. In order for you to know more about the factors influencing AOD, you may access the National Drug Strategy 2017-2026

The National Drug Strategy (NDS) aims to build safe, healthy and resilient Australian communities by preventing and minimising alcohol, tobacco and other drug-related health, social, cultural and economic harms among individuals, families and communities. 

There are four approaches to improve national coordination for identifying and addressing AOD context and problems: 

  • Improved reporting on the progress of Australia’s national drug policy frameworks
  • Increase transparency of governance of Australia’s national drug policy frameworks
  • Establish processes to encourage engagement between government and stakeholders
  • Development of national guidelines, quality framework, public information resources and communication approaches

The four approaches will lead to better communication and coordination between the government and stakeholders in the AOD setting, which can lead to more effective identification and addressing of AOD issues. 

As mentioned above, there are different factors influencing AOD.  Here are the four main factors influencing AOD use: 

Social

Economic

Political

Legal

  • Social

Social factors play a significant role in shaping the AOD context. Social determinants such as education, employment and social support can impact AOD use. Here are examples of why social factor influences AOD context: 

  • Adolescents who feel pressured by their peers to use AOD are more likely to engage in AOD use 
  • Children who grow up in households where AOD use is normalised are likelier to engage in such behaviour.
  • Individuals who belong to a circle of friends with a high value on alcohol consumption are likelier to engage in heavy drinking than those not in such groups.

According to NDS, there are different social harms of AOD. The following are the social harms mentioned in NDS: 

  • Violence and other crime
  • Engagement with the criminal justice system
  • Unhealthy childhood development and trauma
  • Intergenerational trauma
  • Contribution to domestic and family violence
  • Child protection issues
  • Child/family wellbeing

The social harms highlight the need for a comprehensive and collaborative response to address AOD issues, which involves not only individual treatment and support but also broader social and systemic interventions. 

The current social context of AOD highlights the importance of a comprehensive and collaborative response that takes on a holistic and inclusive approach that recognises the complex social factors that contribute to AOD use and associated harms. 

  • Economic

Economic factors are an important aspect of the AOD context. Economic factors can impact substance use patterns and behaviours in several ways, including:

  • Income and employment status can impact access to drugs and alcohol. Individuals with more disposable income may have greater access to alcohol and drugs than those with lower incomes.
  • Unemployment or financial insecurity can contribute to stress and anxiety, which can increase the risk of AOD use

According to NDS, there are different economic harms caused by AOD. Here are the different economic harms: 

  • Healthcare and law enforcement costs
  • Decreased productivity
  • Associated criminal activity
  • Reinforcement of marginalisation and disadvantage

The economic harms highlight the significant costs incurred by society and the reinforcement of marginalisation and disadvantage. These costs have a ripple effect on the economy, impacting individuals, families and communities and can lead to long-term economic consequences. 

The current economic context affects AOD work by creating challenges in funding and resource allocation, impacting service delivery and accessibility. It can also affect individuals’ access to treatment and support services. 

  • Political

Political factors are an important aspect of the AOD context. Here are some examples of how political factors affect the AOD context:

Political decisions regarding funding for substance use prevention, treatment and recovery can impact access to care and the effectiveness of interventions.

Political discourse and messaging can contribute to social stigma and discrimination against individuals with AOD use issues.

Political leaders and policies can either promote or challenge stigma and discrimination. This can impact access to AOD care and treatment outcomes.

  • Legal

Legal factors can influence the AOD context. Here are some examples of how legal factors influence AOD:

  • Criminalisation and penalties can help people think they can get in trouble with the law if they use drugs or alcohol. They will be less likely to use AOD.
  • Legal regulations around prescription drugs can impact access to AOD and contribute to misuse and addiction. 
  • Legal requirements for drug testing in certain settings, such as the workplace or criminal justice system can minimise the use of AOD.

As an AOD worker, you must know and know these different AOD contexts. Knowledge of AOD context refers to a deep understanding of the factors affecting AOD use. It includes a comprehensive understanding of the patterns, behaviours, policies and practices that shape the response to AOD use.

On the other hand, awareness of AOD context refers to the general understanding and recognition of the factors affecting AOD use. This includes understanding the norms and attitudes related to AOD.

You need to know the similarities and differences of knowledge and awareness of AOD use to help you recognise the importance of both specialised knowledge and general awareness in developing effective intervention and support relating to AOD use

The table below shows the similarities and differences in knowledge and awareness of AOD context:

Knowledge and Awareness of AOD Context
SimilaritiesDifferences
Both involve understanding and comprehension of the AOD context both are important for making informed decisions and taking effective actions for clients suffering from AOD problems can be gained through research and analysis, training and experienceKnowledge is more in-depth and specialised than awareness. Knowledge involves a deep understanding and expertise in the AOD context awareness refers to a general understanding or recognition of a particular issue or topic related to AOD. Knowledge is often acquired through formal education, while awareness can be gained through exposure to information, personal experience or informal education.

Current and changing knowledge and awareness of the AOD context 

Your knowledge and awareness of the AOD context should be current and emerging. Current and changing knowledge of AOD context refers to the most up-to-date and relevant information and trends related to AOD. This includes:

  • Knowledge of the latest research findings and evidence-based practices
  • Awareness of emerging issues in the field of AOD

AOD workers need to stay current with the latest developments in the field to provide effective services. On the other hand, changing knowledge of the AOD context refers to new and developing issues in the field, such as the use of new substances or the changing patterns of AOD use.

To supplement the discussion, here are example situations based on the following:

Current knowledge of AOD context

Current awareness of AOD context

Changing knowledge of AOD context

Changing context on AOD context

  • Current knowledge of AOD context
  • Social. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on AOD use and addiction. Social isolation and financial stress are some of the reasons why the number of AOD use increased during the pandemic.
  • Cultural. In some cultures, there is a greater acceptance of AOD use, while in others, a greater stigma is associated.
  • Economic. Economic factors also influence the prevalence of AOD use. There is a correlation between unemployment rates and AOD use. 

When more people are without jobs, there tends to be more drug and alcohol use. This could be because unemployed people have more stress and less access to support and may have more free time.

  • Political. Changes in political priorities and budget allocations can impact the availability and quality of AOD treatment and resources.
  • Legal. Drug possession and distribution laws can result in criminal charges and incarceration.
  • Current awareness of AOD context
  • Social. The use of alcohol and drugs in the Australian music festival scene has become a growing public health concern. This can be connected to several deaths and hospitalisations reports in recent years.
  • Economic. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the AOD sector in Australia, with increased demand for treatment services, disrupted supply chains for illicit drugs and challenges in delivering services during lockdowns.
  • Political. The implementation and funding of the Australian government’s National Drug Strategy 2017-2026 have been criticised for being inadequate and inconsistent across different states and territories
  • Legal. The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s Illicit Drug Data Report 2019-2020 shows an increase in the number and weight of the impact of drug seizures.
  • Changing knowledge of AOD context 
  • Social.
    • There is a change in the drug use patterns and new psychoactive drugs. It was recorded that there is an increased use of new psychoactive drugs, increased drug-related harm among young people and increased demand for AOD services 

This change requires updated AOD worker training and knowledge to address new drug use patterns and respond to emerging trends in drug use. Regular training and education can also help workers maintain their own well-being and job satisfaction, which is important for delivering high-quality carePerson in online therapy

  • Economic

There is an increase in government funding for alcohol and drug treatment services. Government funding for alcohol and drug treatment services in Australia has increased over the years, with a total of $1.2 billion provided in 2019-20. The majority of funding goes towards specialist treatment services, with the Commonwealth playing a significant role in funding the sector.

The increase in funding can lead to improved access to treatment services for those seeking help for drug use and can help support the development and implementation of evidence-based interventions.

  • Political

The National Drug Strategy 2017-2026 provides a shift towards a more comprehensive approach to AOD policy, focusing on harm reduction and early intervention.

This strategy may lead to changes in funding and policy priorities for AOD services, requiring AOD workers to adapt to new approaches to treatment and support, such as increased focus on harm reduction strategies like safe injection sites, naloxone distribution, and other harm reduction approaches.

  • Legal

Medicinal cannabis is one of the changes in the legal context of AOD. This change introduces medicinal cannabis legislation for certain medical conditions.

This change has opened up new treatment options for people with certain medical conditions and has sparked new research into the potential benefits of cannabis for a range of health issues. However, there are still many legal and regulatory barriers to accessing medicinal cannabis, which can be a challenge for both clients and AOD workers.

Changing awareness of AOD context

  • Social. Social media and technology have facilitated the rise of digital drug dealing. This is where drug dealers use social media platforms and encrypted messaging apps to sell illicit drugs to users.
  • Cultural. There is a growing trend of sober curious culture in Australia. This culture shows how individuals abstain from alcohol and drugs for health, personal or cultural reasons.
  • Economic. Increasing focus on regenerative approaches to AOD issues, which aim to support sustainable and regenerative systems, such as ecological restoration and community building. 
  • Political. The debate around drug law reform in Australia continues, with advocates pushing for decriminalisation or legalisation of some drugs as a harm reduction strategy. However, this has been met with resistance from some politicians and law enforcement agencies.
  • Legal. The emerging trend of restorative justice approaches to drug-related offences prioritises accountability and repair rather than punishment. Restorative justice approaches can support healing and address the root causes of drug-related harm, such as trauma and social exclusion.

The current and changing knowledge and awareness of each AOD factor can greatly affect the AOD context. These are some significant impacts of this knowledge and awareness of AOD context:

  • Prevention

Current and changing knowledge and awareness can inform prevention efforts by identifying current and new risk factors and protective factors associated with AOD use. For example, emerging research on the role of social media and technology in AOD use can inform prevention strategies to reduce risks.

Emerging knowledge on AOD shows that social media use is associated with higher rates of AOD use among young adults. Specifically, young adults spending more time on social media platforms are likelier to binge drink and use drugs. This suggests that prevention strategies should limit young adults’ exposure to social media messages that promote or normalise AOD use.

This situation shows how current and changing knowledge and awareness of AOD use can design and develop new preventive measures for AOD use.

  • Treatment

Current and changing knowledge and awareness can inform the development of evidence-based and effective treatment approaches for people with AOD problems. For example, creating awareness that people have different identities and experiences can help create a better treatment for those struggling with AOD. This ensures that everyone gets the help they need, no matter who they are or where they come from.

This also encourages personalised treatment depending on the individual’s needs, identities and experiences.

The current and changing knowledge and awareness of AOD use can develop or modify new treatments, including interventions and support services. 

  • Policy

Current and changing knowledge and awareness can inform the development of policies and legal frameworks that support effective and equitable AOD prevention and treatment. For example, emerging knowledge on the effectiveness of harm reduction approaches can inform the development of policies prioritising harm reduction over criminalisation.

Current and changing knowledge and awareness can impact policymakers to create more effective policies or modify existing ones.

As an AOD worker, you must be aware of the social, cultural, economic, political and legal updates about AOD. This knowledge and awareness should also be put into practice. There are several ways to be updated with current and changing knowledge and awareness in AOD and to use it in practice. These several ways are:

  • Research current and emerging knowledge and awareness of the AOD context
  • Analyse current and emerging knowledge and awareness of the AOD context
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge and awareness of the AOD context Photo close up of female doctor holding bottle of pills and explaining medication
  1. 1.1 Research Current and Changing Knowledge and Awareness of AOD Context

AOD work is a field that requires a balance between current and changing knowledge and awareness of different AOD contexts. On the one hand, AOD workers need a strong foundation in the current knowledge of substance use disorders, addiction treatment and evidence-based practices. This includes understanding the medical and psychological aspects of addiction, the different types of treatments available and how to develop effective treatment plans that address each client’s unique needs.

On the other hand, AOD work is a constantly changing field, and workers need to be adaptable and open to new ideas and approaches. This includes being aware of emerging trends in substance use, such as new drugs or changes in patterns of use, as well as new treatments and therapies that may be more effective than current practices. AOD workers should also be aware of changes in societal attitudes towards addiction and how they may impact their work with clients.

Research plays a critical role in helping AOD workers stay current with the latest knowledge in the field while also being open to changes and new developments. Research on the social, cultural, economic, political and legal sectors is the first way to know current and changing knowledge and awareness of AOD. Research means conducting a systematic and comprehensive review of current knowledge, emerging trends and issues related to AOD.

AOD workers should research current and changing knowledge and awareness to achieve the following: 

Improve client outcomes
Keep pace with changing trends

Identify gaps in knowledge
  • Improve client outcomes. By staying up-to-date on current and changing knowledge of the AOD context, AOD workers can provide more effective and evidence-based interventions to their clients. This can lead to better outcomes, such as reduced AOD use and improved overall health and well-being. 
  • Keep pace with changing trends. AOD use patterns and trends are constantly changing, and AOD workers must stay informed. This can help them anticipate and respond to emerging issues, including new drugs or changing patterns of alcohol use.
  • Identify gaps in knowledge. Researching current and changing knowledge of the AOD context can help AOD workers identify gaps in knowledge and areas where further research is needed. This can help inform the development of new research studies and interventions.

The way people do research is often a cycle. This means that when they find answers to some questions, they might come up with new questions to research, so an AOD worker must be flexible and able to change plans if needed. AOD workers need to keep collecting and studying new information to stay up-to-date. Generally, building awareness and keeping up-to-date with changing and current information follows these three major steps, which will all be discussed in the three sub-sections in Chapter 1.

  1. Doing the research
  2. Analysing the results
  3. Maintaining up-to-date knowledge with new information

While the research process is generally the same for each of the social, cultural, economic, political and legal contexts, the specific steps and methods used may vary depending on the nature of the research question and the data being analysed. 

However, regardless of the specific methods used, the overall goal of research in AOD is to stay updated on current and changing knowledge and to develop evidence-based interventions and policies that improve the lives of individuals and communities affected by substance use disorders.

The common steps when researching for current and changing knowledge and awareness of the AOD context can be broken down into the following steps: 

Identify the research question

Conduct a literature review

Engage with stakeholders

  • Identify the research question

AOD workers need to identify the specific question to be answered through research. For example, they may want to know how economic factors impact access to AOD treatment. Other possible research questions that could be explored within each of the AOD contexts may include:

AOD ContextExample research questions that could be explored
SOCIAL 1. What are the social factors that contribute to AOD use and addiction?

2. How do cultural beliefs and values influence AOD use and treatment?

3. What are the impacts of social stigma and discrimination on individuals with AOD use disorders?
POLITICAL1. How do political decisions and policies affect AOD use and treatment?

2. What is the impact of drug policies on marginalised populations?

3. What are the factors that shape drug policy at the national and international levels?
ECONOMIC1. What is the economic impact of AOD use and addiction on individuals and communities?

2. How do socioeconomic factors influence AOD use and treatment?

3. What are the costs and benefits of different AOD treatment approaches
LEGAL1. How do drug laws and regulations affect AOD use and treatment?

2. What are the legal barriers to accessing AOD treatment?

3. How do legal frameworks shape drug policy and treatment approaches?
  • Conduct literature reviews

AOD workers should conduct a thorough review of the existing literature related to their research question.

This involves reviewing academic literature to identify current and emerging research findings and trends related to AOD use and related issues.

Some examples of academic literature are:

  • Research papers
  • Journal articles
  • Reports
  • Case studies
  • Organisational policies and procedures
  • Laws and regulations

This academic literature will give you the latest updates on AOD-related knowledge, trends or even issues. 

Here are several resources where you can access academic literature: 

Trove is Australia’s National Digital Library, which provides access to many resources. Trove also includes a search function that allows users to search across library collections in Australia.

NDARC is an Australian research institution that explores complex AOD issues. They produce diverse publications, including research reports, policy briefs and newsletters that offer valuable insights on AOD trends and topics. 

Staying informed with NDARC’s latest findings helps you understand AOD complexities and is up-to-date. 

AIHW is a national agency that provides information and statistics on health and welfare issues in Australia, including drug and alcohol use.

The National Drug Strategy is a framework that guides Australia’s response to drug and alcohol use. The National Drug Strategy website provides up-to-date information on the latest trends and issues related to AOD use.

Person using a laptop

In conducting a literature review, your job is to gather and collect information from academic literature from reliable resources. The literature that an AOD worker might access for a literature review will depend on the specific research question they are trying to answer, as stated above. However, here are some examples of relevant literature sources for each of the AOD contexts:

AOD ContextExample relevant literature sources to access
SOCIAL I. Research studies on the social determinants of health and AOD use

ii. Studies on the impact of social norms and peer pressure on AOD use and addiction

iii. Studies on the effectiveness of interventions for overcoming social barriers to accessing AOD treatment
POLITICALI. Academic articles and reports on drug policy at the national and international levels

ii. Studies on the effectiveness of advocacy and lobbying efforts for promoting evidence-based drug policies

iii. Reports on the implementation of drug policies and programs at the local, regional, and national levels
ECONOMICI. Studies on the relationship between socioeconomic factors and AOD use and treatment

ii. Articles on the costs and benefits of different AOD treatment approaches

iii. Studies on the cost-effectiveness of different AOD prevention and treatment strategies
LEGALI. Academic articles and reports on drug laws and regulations at the national and international levels

ii. Articles on the ethical and legal considerations in AOD treatment and research

iii. Reports on the implementation of legal frameworks for AOD treatment and prevention at the local, regional, and national levels
  • Engage with stakeholders

This step involves engaging stakeholders to gather perspectives and insights on current and changing AOD knowledge and awareness. Here are some examples of stakeholders an AOD worker may engage with when researching changing and current knowledge and awareness of AOD contexts:

AOD
Context
Examples of relevant literature sources to access
SOCIAL. People who use drugs and their families and communities

Social service providers such as housing, employment and education organisations

Community groups and organisations advocating for drug policy reform and harm reduction

Peer support groups and mutual aid organisations
POLITICALGovernment departments and agencies responsible for drug policy and regulation

Advocacy groups and organisations for drug policy reform and harm reduction

Organisations and industry groups representing healthcare providers, researchers and other stakeholders
ECONOMICBusiness and industry groups impacted by AOD use, such as hospitality sectors

Health insurers and providers, including public and private hospitals and clinics

Employers and organisations concerned about workplace health and safety
LEGALLaw enforcement agencies and officers responsible for enforcing drug laws and regulations

Legal aid and advocacy organisations providing support and representation to people who use drugs

Criminal justice and correctional organisations and professionals working with people who use AOD

Community groups and organisations advocating for drug policy reform and harm reduction from a legal perspective 

Conducting literature reviews and engaging with stakeholders can help AOD workers develop a more detailed and informed understanding of the current and emerging AOD use, treatment and prevention. This understanding can increase work effectiveness, resulting in better client services. 

You can draw on various resources to gain insight into these contexts and should strive to incorporate multiple perspectives and voices in the research.

Ultimately, researching AOD contexts is important because the social, political, economic and legal contexts shape attitudes and policies around AOD use. These contexts significantly impact:

The availability of AOD services

How substance use is perceived and stigmatised

How policies and regulations are developed and implemented

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1.1.2. Analyse Current and Changing Knowledge and Awareness of the AOD Context

After collecting information through research, the next step is to analyse the collected information from the social, cultural, economic, political and legal sectors and how it contributes to the AOD context.

Analyse involves systematically examining and interpreting information related to AOD. This can help AOD workers better understand the complex and evolving nature of AOD use and develop effective prevention and treatment strategies.

These are some methods that you can follow to analyse current and changing knowledge and be aware of the AOD context:

Data Analysis

Policy Analysis

Environmental Scanning

  • Data analysis 

Data analysis examines and interprets data to conclude, identify patterns and derive insights. The following are the general steps when conducting data analysis: 

  1. Define the topic. The first step is clearly defining the topic the analysis will address. This may involve identifying specific areas of interest, such as emerging drug use trends or changes in policy or legislation.
  2. Clean and prepare the data. Data should be checked for errors or inconsistencies and cleaned if necessary. Missing data should be addressed, do additional research for missing data.
  3. Interpret the data. Look for trends and patterns based on the data. Determine the common information found from several resources and its implications. You can also examine the variables’ relationships and draw conclusions based on the results.
  • Policy analysis

Policy analysis examines policies and their implementation to determine their effectiveness. It also identifies areas for improvement and makes recommendations for future policy development. Policy analysis may involve reviewing and analysing existing AOD use, treatment and policies.

Here are the general steps that AOD workers can follow when conducting policy analysis: 

  1. Define the policy. The first step is to define the policy that will be analysed clearly. This may involve identifying policies or areas relevant to AOD use, treatment and prevention.
  2. Gather information. The next step is to gather information about the policy. This includes relevant policies and legislation, policy documents and other relevant materials.
  3. Analyse the policy. The policy should be analysed to determine its effectiveness, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Environmental scanning

Environmental scanning systematically gathers and analyses information about the external environment to identify trends, changes and potential opportunities or threats.

Here are the general steps that AOD workers can follow when conducting environmental planning: 

  1. Define the scope of the scanning. The first step is to define the scope of the environmental scanning clearly. This may involve identifying specific areas of interest, such as emerging drug use trends or policy or legislation changes.
  2. Identify sources of information. The next step is identifying information sources relevant to the identified areas of interest. These sources may include news media, government reports and social media.
  3. Collect and compile information. Once the sources of information have been identified, the information should be collected and compiled to facilitate analysis. 
  4. Interpret the information. Information should be interpreted. This may involve the following:
Identifying patterns or trends
Examining relationships between variables
Drawing conclusions based on the collected information.

By following these three analysis methods, you can understand and make meaning from the current and changing information about AOD. Your comprehension can help you perform more effectively in work.

Various methods can be used when analysing AOD in different contexts, depending on the context. Here are some examples: 

Social context:

when analysing the social context of AOD, qualitative research methods such as interviews, focus groups and participant observation are most suitable. These methods can help to uncover social norms and attitudes towards AOD use, as well as the social factors that contribute to AOD use, such as peer pressure, family dynamics and cultural values.

Political context:

When analysing the political context of AOD, it is necessary to use quantitative research methods such as surveys or statistical analysis of existing data. This can help to understand the political factors that contribute to AOD use, such as government policies and regulations on drug use, funding for treatment programs and the availability of harm reduction services.

Economic context:

When analysing the economic context of AOD, qualitative and quantitative research methods can be used. Qualitative research methods can help understand the economic factors contributing to AOD use, such as poverty, unemployment and lack of access to resources. Quantitative methods such as statistical analysis can help to identify economic trends and patterns related to AOD use.

Legal context:

When analysing the legal context of AOD, legal research methods such as case law analysis, legislative review and legal scholarship are most suitable. This can help to understand the legal factors that contribute to AOD use, such as drug laws and sentencing policies, as well as the impact of legal interventions, such as drug courts and diversion programs.

There may be differences in analysing the social, political, economic and legal contexts of AOD. For example, a social analysis may focus more on understanding individual behaviour and attitudes, while a political analysis may focus more on understanding institutional policies and practices. Economic analysis may concentrate more on understanding the financial incentives and resources that shape AOD use. In contrast, a legal analysis may focus more on understanding the regulatory frameworks that govern AOD use.

When maintaining social, political, economic and legal contexts of AOD, it is important to consider the ethical and legal considerations that may be relevant to each context. For example, maintaining confidentiality and privacy is critical when analysing social contexts, while ensuring compliance with regulatory frameworks is significant when analysing legal contexts. It is also fundamental to ensure that any conclusions or recommendations drawn from the analysis are evidence-based and aligned with ethical principles.

1.1.3. Maintain Up-To-Date Knowledge and Awareness of the AOD context

Maintaining current and changing knowledge and awareness of the AOD context involves staying up-to-date with the latest research, policies and practices related to AOD use. This can help AOD workers to provide effective prevention and treatment services and respond to emerging issues and trends in the field.

There are several ways or methods that AOD workers can use to maintain current and changing knowledge and awareness of the AOD context. These include:

  • Continuing education and professional development
  • Peer networking and collaboration
  • Regular reading of relevant publications
  • Continuing education and professional development. AOD workers can participate in conferences, workshops and webinars to learn about the latest AOD knowledge. This can help them stay current with field developments and improve their skills and knowledge.
  • Peer networking and collaboration. AOD workers can collaborate with colleagues and other professionals to share knowledge and expertise and learn from one another. This can involve joining professional organisations, participating in online forums and attending networking events.
  • Regular reading of relevant publications. AOD workers can read research papers, journal articles and reports to keep up-to-date with the latest AOD knowledge.

Maintaining current and changing knowledge and awareness of the AOD context involves a commitment to ongoing learning and development. AOD workers can use a range of methods to stay up-to-date with the latest research, policies, and practices on AOD. By doing this, they will improve their knowledge to provide effective prevention and services.

AOD workers can maintain up-to-date knowledge and awareness of the different AOD contexts enumerated through various strategies. Here are some examples for each context:

AOD Context Example relevant literature sources to access
SocialRegularly engage with people who use drugs and their families and communities to stay informed of their experiences and perspectives up-to-date with news and developments in the media related to drug policy, social issues and harm reductionParticipate in peer support and supervision groups to share knowledge and best practices with colleagues
PoliticalMonitor government and political party websites and social media channels for updates on drug policy and regulations with advocacy organisations and professional associations to stay informed of emerging trends and best practices in AOD policy and practice
EconomicAttend conferences, seminars and other professional development opportunities to learn about the economic impacts of AOD use regularly review relevant economic reports and research studies to stay up-to-date on trends and developments related to AOD use and collaborate with employers and industry groups to develop workplace health and safety policies related to AOD use
LegalAttend legal training and professional development opportunities to stay informed of relevant drug laws and regulations review legal cases and precedents related to drug use and policy engage with legal aid and advocacy organisations to learn about emerging legal trends and best practices

Checkpoint! Let’s Review 

  • The four factors influencing the alcohol and other drugs (AOD) context are:
  1. Social
  2. Economic
  3. Political
  4. Legal

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  • The two common steps in researching current and changing knowledge of AOD use are: 
  1. Conducting literature review
  2. Engaging with stakeholders
  • The three common methods in analysing the current and changing knowledge of AOD use are:
  1. Continuing education and professional development
  2. Peer networking and collaboration
  3. Regular reading of relevant publications 

Person reading book

1.2 Research and Analyse Impacts of AOD Policy Frameworks on AOD Work Practice 

In Subchapter 1.1, you learnt that AOD workers should know the factors affecting the AOD context. These factors are:

  • Social
  • Cultural
  • Economic
  • Political
  • Legal

This subchapter will focus on two factors which are political and legal. This subchapter will cover the impacts of policy frameworks on AOD work practice.

AOD policy frameworks refer to a document specifying guidelines for creating policies relevant to AOD. Policy frameworks are important because of the following reasons:

  • The AOD worker practices comply with legal requirements
  • The clients receive the best and most appropriate service
  • The organisations are governed properly
  • The policies across the industry are consistent
  • The organisations take action towards continuous improvement

AOD workers should refer to AOD policy frameworks when making work-related decisions. AOD workers can access these frameworks from a variety of sources, including:

  • Government websites
  • Professional associations for AOD workers
  • Research databases
  • Training and professional programs
  • Organisational policies and procedures

These policy frameworks can be classified into two: 

Policy frameworks on AOD legal considerations

Policy frameworks on AOD ethical considerations

Policy frameworks for legal considerations refer to set guidelines, regulations and laws that govern the use, possession and distribution of AOD in a given jurisdiction. These policy frameworks ensure that AOD use is safe, legal, and compliant with relevant legislation.

While policy frameworks on AOD ethical considerations refer to the set of guidelines and principles that inform ethical decision-making in AOD use, these policy frameworks promote ethical and responsible behaviour among AOD workers. This ensures that individuals and families affected by substance use receive respectful, non-judgmental care and support.

AOD workers should know about this policy framework to provide clear guidance on the legal and ethical issues related to AOD use. This helps workers understand their responsibilities and obligations and ensures that they work within the boundaries of the law and ethical principles. 

This subchapter will help you establish knowledge of the following:

  • Identify policy frameworks on legal considerations
  • Identify policy frameworks on ethical considerations
  • Research impacts of policy frameworks on AOD work practice 
  • Analyse impacts of policy frameworks on AOD work practice

1.2.1 Identify Policy Frameworks on Legal Considerations

Policy frameworks on legal considerations are guidelines, laws and regulations to determine the legal use, possession and distribution of AOD in a given place. There are common policy frameworks on legal considerations that AOD workers should familiarise. These frameworks are classified into:

  • International policy frameworks on legal considerations
  • National policy frameworks on legal considerations
  • State/Territory policy frameworks on legal considerations
  • Local policy frameworks on legal considerations

International policy frameworks on legal considerations

International policy frameworks on legal considerations are a set of frameworks that are recognised and practised at the international level. Countries worldwide should consider the following frameworks when working on AOD-related tasks. 

Here are common international policy frameworks on legal considerations: 

International Policy Framework on Legal Considerations

Policy FrameworkRelevance of Framework in AODLink



Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol
This policy framework is developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to reduce the harmful use of alcohol by:
Strengthening health systems
Establishing effective policies and regulation
A service or organisation in the AOD sector can partner with the local government, health services, and community groups to develop and implement targeted prevention and intervention programs towards the harmful use of alcohol.
In connection with ethical considerations, this can be implemented in the AOD work practice by using screening and assessment tools that are validated for the specific population they are working with, and incorporating harm reduction strategies into their practice.



Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol
World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco ControlThis convention provides a global framework for reducing tobacco use and its related health and economic consequences. It covers a range of issues related to tobacco use, including advertising and promotion, taxation and smoke-free policiesWHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

National policy frameworks on legal considerations

National policy frameworks on legal considerations refer to guidelines and regulations at the national level that govern AOD use in Australia. Here are common international policy frameworks on legal considerations:

National Policy Framework on Legal Considerations

Policy FrameworkRelevance of Framework in AODLink



National Drug Strategy 2017-2026
This is a national framework for addressing AOD issues in Australia. It includes the following four pillars:
1. Drug demand reduction

2. Drug supply reduction

3. Harm reduction caused by drugs

4. Partnerships to reduce drug use

A service or organisation in the AOD sector can partner with the local government, health services, and community groups to develop and implement targeted prevention and intervention programs towards the harmful use of alcohol.
In connection with ethical considerations, this can be applied in AOD work practice by providing harm reduction services to people who have AOD use issues



National Drug Strategy 2017-2026
National Alcohol StrategyThis is a national framework for reducing the harm caused by alcohol use in Australia. It includes a range of initiatives, including:
1. Reducing alcohol-related violence
2. Improving the availability of treatment and support services.


National Alcohol Strategy

State/territory policy frameworks on legal considerations 

State/territory policy frameworks on legal considerations refer to a set of guidelines and regulations at the state or territory level that govern the AOD use within that jurisdiction. Here are common examples of policy frameworks for each state/territory:

State/Territory Policy Framework on Legal Considerations

State/TerritoryPolicy FrameworkLink
New South Wales (NSW)The NSW Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy Framework guide alcohol and other drug policy in NSW, with a focus on harm reduction, prevention and treatment.NSW Alcohol and other drugs 
VictoriaThe Victorian Drug Policy 2020-2025 outlines Victoria’s police approach to minimise the impact of drugs in the community while improving the health and safety of Victorians.Victoria Drug Strategy
QueenslandThe Queensland Drug Education and Intervention offers guidelines and principles on the implementation of drug and intervention programs for schools in QueenslandQueensland Drug Education and Intervention
Western Australia (WA)The Western Australian Alcohol and Drug Interagency Strategy 2018-2022 outlines the approach to legal considerations on alcohol regulation and other drugs.Western Australia Alcohol and Drug Interagency

State/Territory Policy Framework on Legal Considerations

State/TerritoryPolicy FrameworkLink
South Australia (SA)The South Australia Alcohol and Drug Strategy 2017-2021 offers evidence-based solutions to reduce the harm of alcohol and other drug problems. It also provides a framework for a coordinated government response.SA Alcohol and Other Drug Strategy 2017-2021 
TasmaniaThe Tasmanian Alcohol and Drug Strategy 2023-2028 aims to promote a healthy lifestyle by encouraging responsible decisions regarding AOD use. Tasmanian Drug Strategy
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) The ACT Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug (ATOD) Strategy 2022-2026 aims to ensure that treatment of tobacco and drugs is accessible, implement changes to the current system to protect people from the harm of ATOD and reduce the number of cases involved in criminal cases due to ATOD ACT Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Strategy

Local policy frameworks on legal considerations

Local policy frameworks on legal considerations are intended to complement and implement national and state/territory policies and address specific local issues and concerns related to alcohol and drug use. They are usually developed with local stakeholders, such as police and community groups.

You can check on your local community to determine the active and relevant local frameworks. However, here are some examples of local frameworks and where you can access them:

Local Policy Framework on Legal Considerations

Local placePolicy frameworkLink
City of SydneyThe policy framework of the Sydney lockout laws aimed to reduce alcohol-related violence, harm and anti-social behaviour in the CBD and Kings Cross areas of Sydney.  Sydney Lockout Laws
City of PerthThe City of Perth has a Safe City program, which aims to create a safer and more secure environment for residents, workers, and visitors. The program includes initiatives such as the StreetWatch program, which involves trained volunteers patrolling the streets to promote safety and prevent crime, including alcohol and drug-related incidents.Perth SafeCity Plan 

  1. 2.2. Identify Policy Frameworks on Ethical Considerations

Aside from policy frameworks for legal considerations, AOD support workers should also be familiar with policy frameworks on ethical considerations.

Policy frameworks on ethical considerations refer to guidelines and principles that provide a framework for ethical decision-making in AOD. These frameworks are intended to help AOD support workers, and organisations manage situations that include ethical problems and AOD use. This allows AOD support workers to know what values and principles should be used in decision-making. These frameworks ensure that AOD support workers act ethically and with integrity.

Just like in policy framework on legal considerations, policy framework on ethical considerations can be classified to, which are:

  • International policy framework on ethical considerations
  • National policy framework on ethical considerations
  • State/territory policy framework on ethical considerations
  • Local policy framework on ethical considerations

International policy framework on ethical considerations

International policy frameworks on ethical considerations refer to the guidelines and principles established by international organisations and agencies to ensure that the treatment and care of individuals affected by AOD use are conducted ethically. Here are some international policy frameworks on ethical considerations:

International Policy Framework on Ethical Considerations

Policy Framework Relevance of Framework in AOD Link
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) International Standards on Drug Use PreventionThese standards guide ethical considerations related to drug use prevention efforts, including respect for human rights and non-discrimination.United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) International Standards on Drug Use Prevention
International Code of Ethics for Alcohol and Drug ProfessionalsThis code provides ethical guidelines for professionals working in the field of AOD treatment and support, including the principles of informed consent, confidentiality and non-discriminationInternational Code of Ethics for Alcohol and Drug Professionals

National policy framework on ethical considerations

National policy frameworks on ethical considerations refer to the documents and guidelines developed at the national level that provide AOD support workers guidance on ethical considerations in the AOD sector. Here are examples of national policy frameworks on ethical considerations:

National Policy Framework on Ethical Considerations

Policy Framework Relevance of Framework in AOD Link
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy This framework recognises the unique cultural and historical context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia and the impact of colonization on their health and well-being. This strategy is based on self-determination and cultural safety principles to address AOD use.The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy
National Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Alcohol Use Disorder in Primary CareThis framework includes ethical principles and considerations in its guidelines for healthcare professionals. These guidelines were developed by the Australian Government’s Department of Health and provided evidence-based recommendations for assessing, diagnosing and managing AOD use in primary care settings.National Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Alcohol Use Disorder in Primary Care

State/territory policy framework on ethical considerations

State/territory policy framework on ethical considerations refers to guidelines and principles governing ethical behaviour and decision-making in AOD use. These policy frameworks are developed at the state/territory level and may vary in scope and detail depending on the specific jurisdiction and the needs of the local population. Here are examples of state/territory policy frameworks on ethical considerations: 

State/Territory Policy Framework on Ethical Considerations

State/TerritoryPolicy FrameworkLink
New South Wales (NSW)NSW Health Ethics Framework outlines ethical principles and values that guide decision-making and practice in the healthcare system, including AOD treatment and support. The framework includes a section specifically on AOD issues, emphasising the importance of respecting the autonomy and dignity of individuals with AOD issues.NSW Health Ethics Framework
VictoriaVictorian Opioid Management Guidelines guide healthcare professionals on the safe and ethical management of opioid use in treating chronic pain.Victorian Opioid Management Guidelines
QueenslandQueensland Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Strategic Plan outlines a framework for the delivery of mental health, drug, and alcohol services in Queensland, with a strong emphasis on ethical considerationsQueensland Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Strategic Plan

State/Territory Policy Framework on Ethical Considerations

State/TerritoryPolicy FrameworkLink
Western Australia (WA)WA Alcohol and Drug Interagency Strategy outlines the vision and priorities for alcohol and drug issues in Western Australia and emphasises the importance of addressing these issues in a way consistent with ethical principles and values.WA Alcohol and Drug Interagency Strategy 2018-2022 
South Australia (SA)South Australian Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Substance Use guide health professionals on approaching substance use treatment ethically and culturally appropriate. South Australian Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Substance Use
TasmaniaThe  Tasmania Drug Education Framework provides guidelines for drug education in schools. It emphasises the importance of ethical considerations such as cultural sensitivity, inclusion and diversity, and harm minimisation.Tasmania Drug Education
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)The ACT Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug (ATOD) Strategy 2022-2026  emphasises the importance of ethical considerations in addressing drug-related harms and promoting health and wellbeing in the ACT community.ACT Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Strategy

Local policy frameworks on ethical considerations

Local policy frameworks on ethical considerations refer to guidelines and regulations set by local governments, councils or health services to ensure ethical and professional conduct in providing AOD services. These frameworks promote a safe and supportive environment for clients, workers and the wider community while upholding ethical principles. Here are some examples of local policy frameworks on ethical considerations: 

Local Policy Framework on Legal Considerations
Local placesPolicy frameworkLink
Inner West CouncilThe Alcohol Management policy of Inner West Council aims to reduce alcohol-related harms in the Inner West area of Sydney through a range of strategies, including limiting the availability of alcohol, promoting safe and responsible consumption and supporting people affected by alcohol-related issues.Alcohol-free zones
City of MelbourneThe Drug Policy Framework and Action Plan aim to promote the safe and responsible use of drugs in the City of Melbourne. The framework recognises that drug use is a complex issue and that the City of Melbourne has a role in supporting individuals, communities and service providers to address drug-related harms compassionately and ethically.Drug Policy Framework

To align policies, procedures, guidelines, practices and operations with international, national, state/territory and local policy frameworks, organisations should consider the following:

Conduct a policy
review
Organisations should comprehensively review their policies, procedures and guidelines to ensure they align with the relevant policy frameworks. This review should be done regularly, and any necessary changes should be made promptly.
Ensure understanding of relevant laws
and regulations
Staff should be trained on the laws and regulations governing the alcohol and other drugs sector. This training should include understanding the international, national, state/territory and local policy frameworks.
Seek expert advice
Organisations should seek expert advice from legal professionals, industry associations, and regulatory bodies to ensure their policies, procedures, guidelines, practices and operations are aligned with the relevant policy frameworks.
Participate in
industry associations
Organisations should participate in industry associations to stay up to date with the latest policies and regulations that govern the sector.
Collaborate with relevant government agencies
Organisations should collaborate with relevant government agencies to ensure their policies, procedures, guidelines, practices and operations are aligned with the applicable policy frameworks.
Monitor and
evaluate compliance regularly
Organisations should periodically monitor and evaluate their compliance with relevant policy frameworks. This evaluation should be done through audits, reviews and stakeholder feedback.
improve continuously
Organisations should constantly improve their policies, procedures, guidelines, practices and operations to align with the relevant policy frameworks. This improvement should be based on stakeholder feedback and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

To ensure that an organisation follows the right rules and laws, they need to do some important things. They should check their policies, procedures, guidelines, and practices to ensure they match the country’s laws and rules. They must also teach their staff the laws and rules so everyone understands them. It is a good idea to ask experts for help and to join industry associations. They should regularly check if they are following the laws and rules and always try to improve their ways of doing things.

As an AOD support worker, aligning individual practices with the international, national, state/territory and local policy frameworks is crucial to ensure that you provide ethical and legal services to your clients. Some ways in which AOD workers can align their practices with policy frameworks are:

Staying Informed:
AOD support workers should remain knowledgeable about the latest policy frameworks that govern the alcohol and other drugs sector. They should regularly read industry publications, attend training and conferences and seek guidance from professional associations.
Seeking supervision
AOD support workers should seek supervision from a qualified supervisor to ensure their practices align with the relevant policy frameworks. Supervision helps identify areas for improvement, provide feedback and ensure that ethical and legal standards are met.
Avoiding conflicts of interest
AOD support workers should avoid conflicts of interest that could compromise their ability to provide ethical and legal services. They should disclose conflicts of interest to their clients and colleagues and take appropriate steps to manage them.
Following ethical and legal standards
AOD support workers should adhere to ethical and legal standards that govern the alcohol and other drugs sector. This includes maintaining confidentiality, obtaining informed consent and reporting suspected abuse or neglect.
Engaging in professional development
AOD support workers should engage in ongoing professional development to keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date. This can include attending training and conferences, reading industry publications and participating in peer supervision and mentoring
Consulting with colleagues
AOD support workers should consult with colleagues when making decisions that may have ethical or legal implications. This can help ensure that their practices align with relevant policy frameworks and that they provide the best possible care to their clients.

In conclusion, AOD support workers can align their practices with the international, national, state/territory and local policy frameworks by staying informed, seeking supervision, avoiding conflicts of interest, following ethical and legal standards, engaging in professional development and consulting with colleagues. These practices ensure that AOD support workers provide ethical and legal services to their clients and uphold their profession’s standards.

1.2.3 Research Impacts of Policy Frameworks on AOD Work Practice

Policy frameworks have impacts on AOD work practice. The impacts of policy frameworks refer to the effects or outcomes of the policy frameworks on the individual and organisational AOD work practice.

AOD work practice refers to the support and assistance of AOD support workers to clients affected by AOD use. Work practices include the following:

Work knowledge

Work skills

Work approaches

  • Work knowledge

Work knowledge refers to the theoretical and practical knowledge required to support AOD clients effectively. Here is some AOD work practice knowledge that you should know:

Understanding the effects of drugs and alcohol
Knowledge of evidence-based treatment interventions
Understanding of harm reduction principles
Knowledge of co-occurring mental health disorders
Understanding of cultural diversity
  • Understanding the effects of drugs and alcohol 

AOD support workers must understand the effects of various drugs and alcohol on individuals’ bodies, minds and behaviours. This knowledge is important for assessing, screening and identifying appropriate client interventions.

  • Knowledge of evidence-based treatment interventions

AOD support workers need to know strongly about evidence-based treatment interventions for substance use disorders. This includes knowledge of behavioural therapies, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI).

  • Understanding of harm reduction principles

AOD support workers must be familiar with harm reduction principles and strategies, such as needle and syringe programs, safe injecting facilities and overdose prevention interventions. This knowledge is important for reducing the harms associated with substance use and promoting safer drug use practices.

  • Knowledge of co-occurring mental health disorders

Many individuals affected by ADOD use also have co-occurring mental health disorders. AOD support workers must know the signs and symptoms of common mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

  • Understanding of cultural diversity

AOD support workers need to have an understanding of cultural diversity and the impact that culture can have on substance use and treatment outcomes. This knowledge is important for providing culturally responsive care and addressing diverse populations’ unique needs and challenges.

  • Work skills

Work skills refer to the practical abilities and competencies needed to support AOD clients effectively. These are the examples of AOD work practice skills:

  • Assessment and screening

AOD support workers need to be skilled in conducting comprehensive assessments and screenings of individuals who may use AOD. This may include the following:

  • Using evidence-based assessment tools to screen AOD use
  • Using standardised tools to assess the severity of the AOD use
  • Conducting a risk assessment of AOD use
  • Managing cases

AOD support workers need to be skilled in case management, which involves coordinating services and resources to meet the needs of individuals who affect AOD use. This may include the following:

  • Developing individualised care plans
  • Making referrals to appropriate services
  • Advocating on behalf of clients
  • Interviewing:

AOD support workers need to be skilled in interviewing techniques to support behaviour change among clients. One interviewing technique is the ‘Motivational Interviewing (MI)’ technique. This technique explores and resolves AOD use while promoting motivation to change.

  • Facilitating

AOD support workers may lead or co-facilitate group therapy sessions, support groups or educational workshops. They must be skilled in creating a safe and supportive environment for group members, promoting engagement and participation and managing group dynamics to provide the best service for clients affected by AOD use.

  • Work approaches

AOD work approaches refer to workers’ methods and strategies to support individuals and communities affected by substance use. These approaches aim to achieve the following:

  • improve the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities affected by AOD use
  • Reduce the harms associated with substance use
  • Promote positive outcomes, such as recovery and social inclusion

These are examples of AOD work approaches: 

Medical mode
This approach views addiction as a disease and focuses on treating biological and physiological causes.
Behavioural mode
This approach focuses on changing problematic behaviour associated with addiction, such as using positive reinforcement to encourage sobriety or cognitive-behavioural techniques to help clients identify and manage triggers for substance use.
Harm reduction model
This approach focuses on reducing the negative consequences of substance use, such as an overdose or HIV transmission, without requiring abstinence.
Family system models
This approach recognises that addiction affects individuals, their families and support systems. Treatment may involve working with family members to develop healthy coping strategies and communication skills.

Aside from work knowledge, skills and approaches, work knowledge can also be classified as individual practice and organisation practice. As discussed in the Chapter 1 introduction, individual practice for AOD work refers to the activities and approaches that AOD support workers use when working with AOD clients. The discussion also includes four common individual practices for AOD work. These individual practices are:

  • Assessment
  • Treatment planning 
  • Counselling therapy
  • Counting care

Organisational practice for AOD work refers to the policies, procedures and practices that organisations implement to support effective and efficient AOD work delivery. These are the common organisational practices that are related to AOD use: 

  • Staff training and development
  • Evidence-based practices
  • Collaboration and coordination
  • Accessibility and equity

Impacts of policy frameworks on AOD work practice

As previously discussed, policy frameworks can impact the AOD work practice. AOD support workers should be knowledgeable of how policy frameworks can affect their practice and how these frameworks can shape their organisational practice. Here are the common impacts of policy framework on AOD work practice:

Standards and guidelines
Funding resources 
Accountability and reporting
Collaboration  & partnership
  • Standards and guidelines. AOD policy frameworks provide standards and guidelines that outline the expectations for AOD work practice. These standards and guidelines can inform the development of organisational policies, procedures and work practices.
  • Funding and resources.  AOD policy frameworks can influence funding and resource allocation for AOD services. This can impact the types of services available, the capacity of services to meet the needs of clients and the qualifications and training of staff.
  • Accountability and reporting. AOD policy frameworks often require organisations to report on their performance against specific indicators. This can encourage organisations to adopt evidence-based practices and continuously improve their work practices.
  • Collaboration and partnerships. AOD policy frameworks can facilitate collaboration and partnerships between organisations working in the AOD field. This can enhance the coordination of services and support the development of integrated service responses

Research impacts of policy frameworks on AOD work practice

As AOD support workers, you need to know how to research the impacts of policy framework on AOD work practice. This skill can help you be more updated on the impacts of a policy framework and how it can affect you and the organisation to ensure quality service to clients.

Here are general steps that you can follow when researching the impacts of policy frameworks on AOD work practice:

Identify the relevant AOD policy frameworks

review the policy frameworks

Identify the key areas of impact

Identify the gaps and challenges

Consult with stakeholders

  • Identify relevant AOD policy framework

The first step is to identify the international, national, state/territory or local policy framework that is relevant to your work practice. These frameworks can be accessed through government websites or relevant professional organisations.

  • Review the policy frameworks

Once the policy frameworks have been identified, AOD support workers should review them carefully to understand their goals, objectives and key provisions. This can involve reading the policy documents, attending training sessions or webinars or consulting with colleagues who are familiar with the frameworks.

  • Identify the key areas of impact

AOD support workers should identify the key areas of impact that the policy frameworks have on their work practice. For example, a policy framework may require AOD workers to undertake regular training on cultural safety or require the implementation of evidence-based interventions. These impacts may vary depending on the specific policy framework.

  • Identify any gaps or challenges

AOD support workers should also identify any gaps or challenges in the policy frameworks that may impact their work practice. For example, a policy framework may not adequately address the needs of a specific population or may not provide adequate funding or resources for certain interventions.

  • Consult with stakeholder

AOD support workers should consult with relevant stakeholders, including clients, community members and other professionals, to understand how the policy frameworks impact their work practice. This can involve conducting surveys, focus groups or one-on-one interviews

1.2.4.Analyse the Impacts of Policy Frameworks on Work Practice

The collected information during the research must be analysed. Analysing the impacts of AOD policy frameworks on AOD work practice refers to the process of evaluating and interpreting the findings of the research conducted by AOD support workers. In this process, AOD support workers examine the effects of the policy frameworks on their work practices. This is followed by identifying areas where improvements can be made to better align with the policy objectives.

Here are the general steps in analysing the impacts of policy frameworks on work practice: