Many people come into contact with police and the legal system as a consequence of behaviour related to alcohol and other drug use. Palmerston offers various programs to assist people to change their behaviour and to fulfil their responsibilities. These services are free.

Alcohol and Other Drug Diversion Program

The Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Diversion Program is a voluntary court diversion treatment intervention program available for eligible adults who have alcohol and/or other drug use problems and who are attending court.

The AOD Diversion Program is ideally for early entrants to the court system, however can service people who have been in court before. It is suitable for people who plead guilty to an offence and who would normally would be likely to receive a fine, community-based order, or intensive supervision order.

Anybody who has reason to address the court about the offender’s case can request the offender be referred to the AOD Diversion Program for assessment, however those with an extensive criminal record for serious offences, sexual offences, drug trafficking offences or high level violence are not eligible.

Following assessment by a court based AOD Diversion Officer, referral to the program is at the magistrate’s discretion. If referred to the program, the offender’s case will be remanded for approximately eight weeks so they can access treatment and support in the community to address their AOD use and develop strategies for positive change.

The AOD Diversion Officer will provide the assessment and coordinates the referral to treatment.  If the magistrate imposes conditional on the bail this means a Community Corrections Officer may also be involved.

Following treatment during the remand period, the person returns to court and the AOD Diversion Officer provides a summary of progress in treatment for the court to review.  If treatment has been completed  sentencing will occur. If further treatment is recommended the offender’s case can be remanded for a further period prior to returning for sentencing.

The AOD Diversion Officer can also link family members and friends or support people of the person appearing in court to free services so they can receive professional advice and useful information about AOD use and strategies to support themselves and manage stress.

Please contact the Alcohol and Drug Support Line or speak to the AOD Diversion Officer at your local magistrate’s court for more information.

Electronic brochures with further information on the AOD Diversion Program, including a brochure for Aboriginal people, and a brochure for family members, friends or support people are available here.

Alcohol Interlock Scheme

If you have received a letter advising you to book alcohol assessment and treatment it is important that you call the booking service on 1800 722 362 for an appointment. They will help you book your first appointment with a counsellor at an alcohol and other drug service. The program consists of six counselling sessions provided by a qualified alcohol and other drug counsellor. These sessions are free and will take about an hour each.