Alcohol Mandatory Treatment

The Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Act (the AMT Act) establishes the Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Program (the AMT Program) in the Northern Territory. This includes the operation of AMT Assessment Facilities and Treatment Centres. The role of the Community Visitor Program (CVP) is set out in Part 5 of the AMT Act.

The CVP’s role involves promoting and protecting the interests of people who receive AMT services. They provide a number of services including visiting, advocacy, complaints resolution, inquiry, inspection, monitoring, reporting and the making of recommendations.

The AMT Act mandates assessment and (where ordered by the AMT Tribunal) treatment for people who have been apprehended while intoxicated under s128 of the NT Police Administration Act at least three times in a two month period. The objectives of the Act are to address the person’s health issues, improve their social functioning, restore their decision-making capacity regarding lifestyle and link them with ongoing treatment.

Once the operation of the AMT is triggered by a relevant police apprehension, the person is transported by NT Police to an AMT Assessment Facility. An assessment must take place within a specified timeframe and (unless mental health treatment is required) a Senior Assessment Clinician makes an application to the AMT Tribunal, recommending a particular type of order. The Tribunal can make a range of orders, including a Mandatory Residential Treatment Order (MRTO). Where an MRTO is made, the person will be transferred to an AMT Treatment Centre for a specified period (normally 12 weeks).

Section 6 of the AMT Act states that the following principles must be applied:

  • involuntary detention and involuntary treatment of a person are to be used only as a last resort when less restrictive interventions are not likely to be effective or sufficient to remediate the risks presented by the person;
  • the least restrictive interventions are to be used;
  • any interference with the rights and dignity of a person are to be kept to the minimum necessary.