February 2023

How AOD disease models perpetuate inequity for young people with multiple disadvantage
All Research and Trends

Young people who experience multiple disadvantage have been identified as some of the most marginalised and under-serviced people in the alcohol and other drug (AOD) system.

In this paper, we draw on a range of research evidence to argue that one of the challenges in responding appropriately to the needs of these young people are models of care which seek to ameliorate ‘illness’ rather than promote wellness.

While disease approaches have some important benefits, overly-medicalised AOD treatment responses also have negative impacts. By focusing on clinical solutions rather than material and relational ones, medicalised treatment responses perpetuate inequity: they benefit young people whose resources and normative values align with the treatments offered by disease models, but are much less helpful to those who are under-resourced.


Photo credit: Noffs