HIMS Australia (Human Intervention Motivation Study)

April 6, 2017

The 4th Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference is on next month at the Mantra on View Hotel, Gold Coast over the 15th – 17th May.

Topics include:

  • Navigating the service system
  • Training and Support of AOD workers
  • Issues within rural and remote communities
  • Cultural safety and sensitivity when working with specific population groups
  • Emerging trends
  • Trauma informed services
  • The lived experience and their supporters

Dr Michael Atherton, Addiction Psychiatrist at The Sydney Clinic, Bronte, NSW joins us next month to discuss ‘HIMS Australia (Human Intervention Motivation Study), The challenges and progress of implementation of an evidenced based relapse prevention program for pilots in Australia’.

HIMS originated in the US in the 1970s. It stands for Human Intervention Motivation Study, a name given to the early work looking at assisting pilots with a substance misuse problem. In the US, like many other countries, the aviation regulator lists the condition of substance misuse with dependency as a chronic medical condition with significant safety implications. This condition meant that pilots did not meet the medical requirements for an aviation license and hence were no longer able to fly. With the introduction of HIMS US pilots had a pathway to appeal for licence reissue. The HIMS program is a structured agreement that pilots with this diagnosis enter into. It is based on best medical practice for treating substance misuse with dependency.

Treatment includes initial intensive treatment and education, abstinence, counselling as required and peer support meetings. There is also surveillance requirements such as alcohol breath tests which tend to have a positive effect on recovered pilots. The HIMS program in the US has supported over 5,500 pilots. The success rates for this very complicated relapsing medical condition have been over 88% in the long term.

Approximately five years ago New Zealand have introduced a HIMS program across all of the countries aviation sectors including airline, general aviation, and military aviation. New Zealand is finding similar successes as the US. Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong introduced a formal HIMS program in 2012, along with airlines in France, Finland and Holland.

Australia has been slower on the up take but this presentation with take a balanced view of the challenges and successes so far and seek to gain ideas, support and guidance from the broader Alcohol and Drug treatment community to assist it moving forward.

For more information on the upcoming 2017 Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference and to secure your spot, please visit addictionaustralia.org.au.


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