News & Events

‘Ice’ Commission report provides a springboard to ‘rehabilitate’ the NSW drug treatment system to better help more people

in News
9 Mar 2020

Media Release

Leading drug treatment service Odyssey House NSW has welcomed the comprehensive report of The Special Commission of Inquiry into crystal methamphetamine and other amphetamine-type stimulants[i], released by the NSW government on 27 February.

Chief Executive Officer Julie Babineau, who is also President of NADA (Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies), said the report’s 109 recommendations provide a springboard for action to tackle not only the significant health and social harms of ‘ice’, but also alcohol and other drug dependence overall.

“Odyssey House thanks the government for releasing the report; we look forward to working with them and our sector colleagues as the government considers the recommendations and prepares its full response,” Ms Babineau said.

“The drug treatment system itself urgently needs rehabilitation.

“We are encouraged by the report’s call for a concerted, whole-of-government effort to reduce the impact of addiction, including harm minimisation initiatives, education and research, and properly resourced and funded treatment pathways to achieve better outcomes for people seeking help.

“At the moment many people are missing out on treatment they desperately need, falling through the cracks and not getting the wrap-around, coordinated healthcare they need to recover.

“At particular risk are people with complex issues such as co-occurring mental illness and drug dependence, which is becoming increasingly common.

“Last year, 77 per cent of our residential rehabilitation clients had a co-occurring mental health condition[ii]. Even in Odyssey House’s ten community-based services, where clients may have less complex issues, more than half (53%) of people reported also having a mental health problem.

“‘Ice’ accounted for half of our residential rehabilitation admissions in 2019 and one in three community admissions, topping the list as principal drug of concern[iii] for the eighth consecutive year.

“At the end of the day, Odyssey House hopes the report of The Special Commission of Inquiry results in increased funding for early intervention, education and treatment, greater investment in the health sector workforce, and a more coordinated, whole-of-government approach.

“We hope the government hears the ‘cries for help’ from individuals and drug treatment providers that resounded through the personal testimonies and expert evidence from the frontline.

“In the meantime, Odyssey House is trying to meet public demand for treatment by offering a new short-term residential rehabilitation program, running more group-based community counselling sessions and offering evening meetings, and tendering for services around NSW,” she said.

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For further media information or interviews with Odyssey House staff or clients:

Contact Carol Moore, Moore Public Relations: 0402 382 363,

Visit the Odyssey House Media Dropbox:



[ii] 2019 Odyssey House NSW Annual Report: Reconnecting Lives, at

[iii] Most Odyssey House clients have poly-drug issues but nominate the principal drug that led them to seek treatment