Key messages

  • The Victorian alcohol and other drug treatment system provides a range of statewide and specialist services.
  • All services are required to provide a friendly, welcoming and culturally safe environment for all clients.
  • Intake and treatment providers link clients and clinicians to specific services and programs where appropriate.

Accessing statewide and specialist alcohol and other drug services

The Victorian alcohol and other drug treatment system provides a range of statewide and specialist services.

All Victorian Government-funded alcohol and other drug services are required to provide a friendly, welcoming and culturally safe environment for all clients, including Aboriginal people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, and intersex (LGBTI) and their families. Inclusive practice is an essential part of the delivery of health and human services.

Statewide telephone and online services provide confidential counselling and support, information and education, self-assessment tools, contacts and referral to treatment services.

In addition to the mainstream statewide treatment system, population-specific treatment services are available for cohorts with specific needs including:

The department funds a number of services to provide additional clinical support to clients and the sector. Intake and treatment providers link clients to specific services and programs as part of treatment where appropriate.

Additional support

Drug and alcohol clinical advisory service

The Drug and alcohol clinical advisory service (DACAS) is a specialist 24-hour telephone consultancy service that assists health and welfare professionals throughout Victoria to respond effectively to individuals with alcohol or other drug use problems.

All calls are answered by experienced DirectLine clinicians. Calls that require specialist medical advice are referred to DACAS consultants who are addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry specialists.

DACAS can be accessed over the phone on 1800 812 804 or online at the DACAS website.

Specialist alcohol consultancy service

The specialist alcohol consultancy service (SACS) provides a specialist alcohol clinic for community medical practitioners across Victoria. Delivered by Turning Point, it is a medical clinic model with psychological, nursing and other clinician support, and builds on the infrastructure and resources of DACAS.

Following referral, clients are triaged and complete an initial face-to-face assessment with a specialist clinician for treatment planning. Recommendations sent to the referrer may include investigations and referrals for medical follow-up, or facilitated admission to residential withdrawal.

Statewide neuropsychology service

The statewide neuropsychology service, delivered by Turning Point, provides clinical neuropsychology assessments primarily to forensic clients with suspected or diagnosed brain injury, who also have co-occurring alcohol and other drug use disorders. The service also offers secondary consultations to alcohol and other drug workers and corrections workers to assist in supporting these clients.

The service has a dual clinical and educational role, also providing training and developing materials to assist assessment.

Victorian dual diagnosis initiative

There is a range of State and Commonwealth funding allocated to enhance the capacity of treatment services and mental health services to respond to clients with concurrent mental health and drug issues. As dual diagnosis is prevalent, staff should be trained in dual diagnosis and provided with appropriate education and learning opportunities.

The Victorian dual diagnosis initiative's structure includes four metropolitan agencies with links to workers embedded in each rural region. Treatment services are supported by the initiative which provides training and consultation services and has some direct service provision responsibilities to clients.

Women’s alcohol and drug service

The Royal Women's Hospital's Women's alcohol and drug service (WADS) provides specialist clinical services to pregnant women and their infants. Referral is through a general practitioner or other health provider, or by self-referral. The service also offers training and secondary consultations to health professionals in acute and primary health services and the community sector. This includes a 24-hour on-call medical service.

The multidisciplinary staff team includes dieticians, pharmacists, obstetricians, paediatricians, midwives, social workers and education and research staff.

Mother and baby residential withdrawal unit

The mother and baby residential withdrawal unit is a community residential withdrawal service provided by UnitingCare ReGen.

The four-bed unit in metropolitan Melbourne delivers a tailored withdrawal service to mothers with children aged up to 12 months.