28 Oct 2010

Law Commission wants addiction act replaced

10:22 am on 28 October 2010

The Law Commission wants the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act replaced to better safeguard those compulsorily detained under it.

Commission's vice-president Warren Young says a new act would provide stronger legal safeguards to ensure the same patient rights and review opportunities as mental health laws offer.

The Act has been in place since 1966 and the commission says, on average, 74 people each year are forced to undergo compulsory treatment.

But only four facilities, all in major cities, are able to accept such people after they have completed detoxification in hospital.

Only those aged 20 or over can be admitted.

The chairperson of the Drug and Alcohol Practitioners Association, Tim Harding, says the commission's proposal is much clearer than the status quo.