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6.9 Drugs and Alcohol

Last Modified: 04-May-2017 Review Date: 01-Jun-2019

Purpose

  • ​​​To minimise and manage the impact of drugs and alcohol on the day to day wellbeing of children. 
  • To identify procedures for safely responding to alcohol and drug misuse in residential care. 
Practice Requirements

  • ​​​​A child being placed in a residential home must be accompanied by a responsible person. 
  • The responsible person must assess whether the child is drug or alcohol affected and whether he or she requires medical attention. 
  • If a child returns to the home and residential care workers reasonably suspect they have a substance with them that could endanger their health and safety, residential care workers should consider use of search and seizure powers under Division 8 of the Act, or contact WA Police for advice or assistance where determined. 
  • Residential care workers must not provide drugs or alcohol to a child, or facilitate access to drugs or alcohol. 
  • Residential care workers must take practical steps to prevent ongoing access to the supply or source of the drugs or alcohol and report concerns to the case manager and police where appropriate. These actions should be recorded in the Log Book, and case notes. Residential care workers must monitor the situation to prevent substance misuse in the future. ​

Drug and Alcohol Office – 24 Hour Alcohol and Drug Support Lines:

  • ​​Metropolitan Area 9442 5000 
  • Country Regions 1800 198 024 
  • Email: alcoholdrugsupport@mhc.wa.gov.au ​​

Procedures

  • Overview
  • Out of hours placements
  • A child who is drug or alcohol affected.
  • Overview

    ​​Residential care workers must develop a risk management and safety plan for the child to prevent harm and minimise the potential for harm. 

    All residential care workers are responsible for the implementation of the safety plan.

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    Out of hours placements

    ​​If a child is suspected of being drugs or alcohol affected, an assessment must be made on the suitability of the placement before the child is placed. 

    If the child’s health deteriorates after placement, residential care workers must provide appropriate assistance and additional monitoring, or arrange for medical attention if required. Refer to 5.4 - Medical Emergency.

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    A child who is drug or alcohol affected.

    ​When a resident child returns to the home and is assessed as being under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a volatile substance, residential care workers must determine the appropriate response for that child. 

    If a child returns to the home after consuming alcohol, drugs or other substances, but is not assessed as requiring professional medical attention and it is safe for him or her to remain in the home, the child must be closely supervised and monitored as he or she recovers in the safety of the home. Residential care workers must record the child’s presentation in the Log Book and case notes, and record the frequency of the checks. 

    If the child expresses an intention to self-harm or actually self-harms please refer to 4.5 - Responding to Self-Harm and Suicide. If the child has a psychotic episode as a result of their use of alcohol, drugs or volatile substances the protocols for responding to mental health concerns must be followed. Refer to 4.6 - Responding to Psychiatric Concerns. 

    Residential care workers must provide information about the consequences of their behaviour – whether it be drug, alcohol or volatile substance use (for example, inhalation of substances such as: glue; solvents; petrol). This discussion should be recorded in the Log Book and case notes.

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