COATS is a state wide service funded through the Department of Human Services (DHS). Its role is to provide a comprehensive drug and alcohol assessment, and then develop a treatment plan for forensic clients who have come before the criminal justice system and have a treatment component to their Community Order or parole.
COATS then purchases appropriate treatment from DHS accredited agencies.
It is vital in some cases due to the client’s substance use, that an assessment occurs as quickly and as seamlessly as possible.
COATS also provides a diversion program offering options for individuals who are in the pre sentence stage and presenting with problematic drug and alcohol misuse thus diverting them away from the criminal justice system and into treatment.
This service is a key to enabling individuals to return to the mainstream community, and in addressing problematic Drug or Alcohol issues, reduce the likelihood of reoffending.
Note : drug and alcohol assessment and treatment is avilable for people who are not subject to parole or a treatment order on release but who are choosing to seek treatment. See the Step Out program.
Jenny presented to COATS in an extremely chaotic and medically critical state. She had a long term history of significant poly substance use and on presentation to COATS for assessment was drinking over forty standard glasses of wine and methylated spirits and also using heroin on a daily basis. She had been experiencing seizures, vomiting and alcohol induced comas and had been admitted on a number of occasions to hospital Emergency Departments . Due to her chaotic lifestyle it had been difficult for Jenny to attend COATS for assessment, however COATS staff found alternative means of achieving this, and then provided extensive case management in liason with hospitals, social workers, mental health workers, treatment agencies, her family and Corrections Officer. COATS became the conduit for facilitating a coordinated approach to treatment and case management, and so a much more positive outcome.
Jenny’s case was an example of the complexity of need, and also of COATS being more than an agency providing assessment and purchase of treatment. There is a wealth of clinical experience amongst staff and a willingness to go the extra mile to enable the client to access the best possible treatment to suit their individual needs.
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