Genesis of change: Substance use treatment for forensic patients with mental health concerns

Daniel Mc Fadden, Emma L. Barrett, Katrina Prior , Helen Miles , Sunny Hemraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Substance use disorders are highly prevalent among forensic patients. They are associated with many challenges for patients with these problems, including their ability to rehabilitate and successfully move through secure forensic mental health services, as well as increasing risk for recidivism. Traditionally, forensic services have been more adept at focusing on and treating the primary mental health diagnosis alone and have been less likely to prioritise this co-occurring patient need. Opportunities exist to foster effective treatment strategies for substance use disorders, and past research has produced positive outcomes among forensic patients in studies in both Australia and the UK to navigate a new course for patients with these problems. By providing empirically validated, co-produced and culturally competent treatment responses, forensic patients living with substance use disorders will have the opportunity to significantly improve their wellbeing and progress through the system. They will also be more prepared and equipped to face challenges upon discharge into the community, including increased availability of alcohol and other drugs, social stigma and barriers to employment. Moreover, by prioritising effective substance use treatment programs during inpatient rehabilitation, services can reduce the levels of post-discharge recidivism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Early online date22 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jun 2021


  • Substance use
  • Treatment
  • Mental illness
  • Forensic patient
  • Rehabilitation


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