The Youth Court can now order the assessment and treatment of young people experiencing drug dependency.

Legislation allowing Youth Treatment Orders came into effect on 21 November 2021 under Part 7A of the Controlled Substances Act 1984. Youth Treatment Orders can only be made for young people who are subject to detention in Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre and who are drug dependent and have refused to engage in voluntary treatment.

Youth Treatment Orders are an option of last resort where all other means have been exhausted and when a young person needs urgent treatment to prevent harm to themselves or others.

There are three types of Youth Treatment Orders – Assessment Orders, Treatment Orders and Detention Orders.

Parents and specific family members of the young person can apply for the Youth Court to make a Youth Treatment Order. Other people can also apply in certain circumstances, including prosecutors, a doctor who is treating the young person, certain government department chief executives and the Public Advocate. A full list of people who can apply for a Youth Treatment Order can be found in section 54C of the Act.

The best interests of the young person are paramount under the legislation, and the orders must be the least restrictive option available. A Statement of Rights must be provided to any young person who is the subject of an application, and they are entitled to free legal representation provided by the Legal Services Commission of South Australia. Youth Treatment Orders will not appear on future police clearances or criminal checks relating to the young person.

For more information, including the application process, visit the Youth Treatment Orders page.