CEO Update – March 2017

Dear Friends and Supporters of Windana,

Welcome to the Autumn quarterly newsletter that we have created to connect and share stories of our people, our work, the impact of what we do and breaking news from the wider treatment sector. I am delighted to update you on some major developments over the summer months.

Windana staff across our operations at St Kilda, Maryknoll and through partnerships, conferencing, volunteers, government relations and the media have been kept extremely busy.

You may have seen extensive media coverage throughout February 2017 surrounding growing support for a Medically Supervised Injection Centre in Victoria. Windana joined 47 leaders from drug & alcohol recovery, social welfare, justice, medical and health organisations in a petition to the Victorian Parliament to support Medically Supervised Injection Centres in Victoria and to support a rigorously evaluated trial in Richmond. There is growing international research and evidence that these injection centres save lives. It is plainly evident that current measures are not working and are in fact driving drug-using populations into secluded areas within these high-risk areas, where there is a greater risk of fatal overdose due to the clandestine nature of their consumption necessitated by the need to avoid policing authorities. Windana will continue its advocacy around this critical issue.

Windana took part in Family Drug Support Day on February 24, attending an event at Parliament House with The Hon Martin Foley,
The Hon Colleen Hartland and The Hon Fiona Patten. Windana fully supports the announcement of the State Government’s new $1.3-million package to provide greater support to drug users, overdose survivors and their families. We know how critical family support can be at every stage of drug and/or alcohol recovery.

In 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services announced changes to Intake and Assessment function in response to recommendations made in the Aspex review. From 1 July 2017, comprehensive assessment will be delivered by treatment providers promoting positive therapeutic relationships from the outset of treatment, enhancing the overall outcome for clients. We are working closely with the Department and other partners on the implementation of these changes over the coming months.

Windana has provided a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Drug Law Reform and commends the Government for engaging with the sector. The terms of reference were encouraging in seeking examples of international innovations to deal with local and contemporary AOD issues in Victoria. The increasing complexity associated with methamphetamine as well as MDMA and other synthetic substances necessitates an open and innovative approach for government to challenge existing norms. It reflects the continued committment to implementing policy that maximises health benefits.

Since our last update, the Windana Board  has undergone some change. I am delighted to announce the appointment of three new, highly experienced members – Cameron Bird, Tony Parsons and Sara Rowswell. They bring outstanding knowledge and experience to our Board. Tony Parsons is the sole Magistrate of the Victoria Drug Court; Cameron Bird brings investment, financial and economic expertise in the health and human services sectors and Sara Rowswell brings expertise across corporate affairs, government relations, advocacy, reputation and stakeholder management. Nicole Steers has stepped down from the Board and joined my leadership team in the role of Manager Business Development and Operations. Her experience and deep understanding of Windana and the sector is already adding value to the organisation. I would also like to acknowledge and thank Anna Crabb and Matt Coleborne both of whom have decided to step down from the Board. Their contribution to Windana will be missed however we have an outstanding group of Board members to help us in our pursuit for the best possible client outcomes.

As I have said, Windana’s staff have had a busy summer. Windana’s Quality Coordinator Debra Millist has led a fantastic new program piloted with the Self Help Addiction Resource Centre SHARC to improve interaction and experience for our clients/consumers and their families. Debra and her colleague at SHARC presented their findings at the recent VAADA Conference sharing the learnings and outcomes from the Consumer Advisory Committee that is already demonstrating value to the way we work with clients and carers. Debra’s work reflects our commitment to continuously improving the way we assess and treat our clients. Read more about her work in this newsletter.

I also wanted to acknowledge our Dual Diagnosis Coordinator and Clinical Psychologist Dr Nathan Castle for his work on a new Best Practice Clinical Risk Assessment and Management project (BPRAM). You can read about the results in this newsletter too.

On behalf of all the Windana community, we hope you will continue to be a part of the Windana journey in 2017. Together, we can have a collective impact and genuinely improve and change lives. I invite you to support Windana’s holistic recovery services.

Kind regards,

Anne-Maree Kaser