Tasmania will become the first state in Australia to introduce a statewide cognitive enhancement program for alcohol, tobacco and other drug services when training gets underway on 23 February 2022.
In an Australian-first, the Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania (ATDC) is leading a coordinated statewide Alcohol and Other Drug Cognitive Enhancement Pilot Program (ACE Pilot Program), announced today by ATDC Sector Development Manager Dan Vautin.
“Many people in alcohol, tobacco and other drug treatment have concerns around memory, thinking, executive function, and emotional regulation and the ACE Pilot Program will provide interventions, screening, and ‘cognitive hacks’ to help people complete treatment and achieve their goals,” Mr Vautin said.
Research shows that around 50% of people in alcohol and other drug treatment experience challenges with memory, attention, thinking, executive functioning, problem-solving or emotional regulation. (source)
“These challenges can have a devastating impact on the effectiveness of alcohol, tobacco and other drug treatment, which is why the ACE Pilot Program is so important,” Mr Vautin said.
Pathways Tasmania Chief Executive Aldo Antolli says the ACE Pilot Program is a great fit for their Velocity Transformations service – an evidence-based, long-term alcohol and other drugs residential treatment service based in Hobart.
“We are so grateful to ATDC for taking charge of delivering this to our sector,
“The ACE program empowers our staff to accurately identify clients from the get-go who have cognition challenges and build support strategies tailored to their needs,
“This ensures longer and better engagement with our treatment programs, which studies show increases likelihood of long term success,” Mr Antolli said.
Previous trials outside of Tasmania have resulted in significantly increased treatment completion rates (source) and it is hoped that the ACE Pilot Program will improve alcohol, tobacco and other drug services right across Tasmania.
“Equipping people with the skills to improve their cognitive functioning through the evidence-based ACE Pilot Program is a game-changer for alcohol, tobacco and other drug treatment in Tasmania,” Mr Vautin said.
This is the first time in Australia that any group of organisations have tried to implement the ACE Program statewide, with 6 organisations from both the community-managed treatment sector and government alcohol and drug services.
“Whilst this 12-month project is ambitious, the ATDC, our members and partners are committed to innovating and continuously improving our services to meet the needs of Tasmanians who seek support for their alcohol, tobacco or drug use,” Mr Vautin said.
ACE Pilot Program participating organisations:
- Tasmanian Health Service Alcohol and Drug Service
- The Salvation Army
- Launceston City Mission
- Velocity Transformations (Pathways Tasmania)
Further information on Alcohol and Other Drug Cognitive Enhancement: https://aci.health.nsw.gov.au/projects/ace-program
Further information about Velocity Transformations (Pathways Tasmania): https://pathwaystas.org.au/programs/vt
Available for interview:
- Dan Vautin – Sector Development Manager, ATDC
- Aldo Antolli – CEO, Pathways Tasmania
Liz Knox – Communications and Engagement Coordinator, ATDC – firstname.lastname@example.org