Alcohol rehabilitation is a necessary part of health care services considering that in 2004-2005, it was estimated that 3200 people died and 81000 people were hospitalized as a result of excessive alcohol consumption in Australia.
This includes not only those people who suffered road accidents that resulted in grievous bodily harm or death; it also includes those who were hospitalized due to illness resulting from excessive alcohol consumption.
The state has an interest in ensuring that its citizens enjoy drinking alcohol without increasing the risk of accidents or ill health. Excessive alcohol abuse raises public health costs. Rising public health costs drain public funds. Thus, it behooves the government to provide alcohol treatment and rehabilitation as part of the services of public health care.
All public treatment and rehabilitation of alcohol begins with a screening of alcohol drinking habits or patterns and rating the patient as either a low-risk level drinker or a high-risk level drinker. If a person is identified to be drinking within low-risk levels, he can undergo education on how to keep his drinking within low-risk levels.
When a person’s drinking levels exceed low-risk levels, he can undergo brief advice as to the health and safety risk of high-risk level drinking and enter a program that can help him reduce his alcohol use so that he can go back to a low-risk drinking level.
When a person’s drinking habits are assessed to be high-risk or moderate to severe dependence, a comprehensive assessment will be the next step. A person whose drinking exceeds low-risk levels will usually not voluntarily come for assessment and screening. The usual scenario is that the person abusing alcohol comes to see a doctor for a physiological complaint (often called a presenting problem).
The comprehensive assessment will determine the role of drinking in the presenting problem/s. The assessment will also include a determination of the quantity of alcohol consumed per day, the pattern of drinking, the last use of alcohol, duration of alcohol use.
A person is considered dependent on alcohol when he is unable to control the use or consumption of alcohol despite the harms of alcohol use as he has developed a tolerance for it. A physical examination will help the doctor determine the severity of withdrawal symptoms the person is likely to undergo should he withdraw from alcohol use.
To determine the best kind of rehabilitation or treatment program, the person with alcohol dependence must undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine his motivation to change the pattern of his alcohol use. Only after the physical and psychiatric evaluation and assessment has been completed can a treatment plan be individually tailored for the person.
Australian Government (2011). ‘National Alcohol Strategy 2006-2011’ ,
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.