NSW Health delivers a comprehensive range of treatment, specialist treatment and aftercare services provided by local health districts and non-government organisations including counselling, withdrawal management, assertive outreach, opioid agonist treatment, residential rehabilitation, drug and alcohol consultation liaison in targeted hospitals and the involuntary treatment program for severely substance dependent individuals.

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NSW Drug and Alcohol Package

The NSW Government is providing $75 million over four years to tackle drug misuse in the community focussing on supporting more young people, more families and more people into treatment.

A key focus of the package is to increase access to treatment and ongoing care for more vulnerable people in our communities. To enable this, the funding aims to support integrated service models and are strong and assertive partnerships between government health services and non-government organisations.

Opioid Treatment Program (OTP)

The NSW Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) seeks to reduce the social, economic and health harms associated with opioid use. The OTP delivers pharmacotherapy and associated services to opioid dependent patients in NSW through the public sector (including Justice Health), and private sector (private clinics, general practitioners, psychiatrists and pharmacies). There are currently 3 types of opioid treatment pharmacotherapy available in NSW: methadone, buprenorphine and buprenorphine-naloxone.

The Opioid Treatment Telephone helpline provides opiate pharmacotherapy information (including about methadone and buprenorphine), referrals, advice and a forum for pharmacotherapy concerns. The service operates Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5.00pm

Phone: 1800 642 428

Additional information for medical practitioners and pharmacies about the OTP is available at Medical Practitioners - NSW Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) and NSW Opioid Treatment Program (OTP).

Stimulant treatment clinics

NSW Health funds a number of specialist treatment services for stimulant users. Services are available across 6 local health districts:

  • St Vince​nt’s Hospital Network
  • Western Sydney Local Health District
  • Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District
  • Hunter New England Local Health District
  • Mid North Coast Local Health District
  • Northern NSW Local Health District

These health districts provide a range of services to stimulant users within a stepped care framework to match the special needs of each patient.

A state-wide telephone service is available 24 hours/day, 7 days a week. The Stimulant Treatment Line provides education, information, referral, crisis counselling and support specifically for stimulant users.

Contact phone numbers for access to services and the Stimulant Treatment Line:
(02) 9361 8088 (Sydney metro)
1800 101 188 (regional/rural) – not a freecall from mobile phones, except Telstra mobiles

You may also contact a local stimulant treatment service​ directly through the relevant district’s intake line for alcohol and other drugs.

There are also a number of non-government agencies providing treatment for crystalline methamphetamine use in rural and regional NSW. These were funded by the NSW Government as part of the ICE election commitment. These new services have been established over three regional areas: Goulburn and surrounds, Dubbo/Wellington and Wagga/Griffith. Contract details are available from the Stimulant Treatment Line.

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Consultation-liaison (CL)

Hospital Drug and Alcohol Consultation Liaison services are available in most hospitals in NSW. These services are designed to alleviate access pressures and to reduce the burden that drug and alcohol problems currently place on the hospital system.

An independent evaluation of these services commissioned by NSW Health shows evidence that more than one third of people presenting to NSW hospitals have a drug and alcohol problem in need of some level of intervention. Hospital Drug and Alcohol Consultation Liaison services are a low cost intervention which produces cost savings to hospitals through a reduction in re-presentations to Emergency Departments. Hospital Drug and Alcohol Consultation Liaison services prevent an increase in average length of stay in ED’s over time, reduce the frequency of ED presentations over time, and are associated with a reduction in incidents in hospitals.

Involuntary Drug and Alcohol Treatment (IDAT) Program

The IDAT Program commenced in 2012 to provide short term care, with an involuntary supervised withdrawal component, to protect the health and safety of people with severe substance dependence who have experienced, or are at risk of, serious harm and whose decision making capacity is considered to be compromised due to their substance use.

The Drug and Alcohol Treatment Act 2007 (the Act) provides the legislative basis for the Program. The Act provides for the health and safety of persons with severe substance dependence through involuntary detention, care, treatment and stabilisation.

To be considered for treatment under the Act a patient must meet all of the following criteria:

  • the person has a severe substance dependence, and
  • care, treatment or control of the person is necessary to protect the person from serious harm, and
  • the person is likely to benefit from treatment for his or her substance dependence but has refused treatment, and
  • no other appropriate and less restrictive means for dealing with the person are reasonably available.

The IDAT Program is delivered out of Royal North Shore Hospital North Sydney and Bloomfield Hospital Orange with state-wide intake. The program provides up to 28 days inpatient involuntary treatment and 3-6 months of voluntary community based treatment and support.

The non-government organisation alcohol and other drugs sector

The non-government alcohol and other drugs sector (NGO AOD sector) provide a wide range of specialist prevention and treatment services throughout NSW. These services include health promotion, harm prevention, outreach, counselling, case management, alcohol and other drug withdrawal management, residential rehabilitation treatment, day programs, community group programs and support for families.

The NGO AOD sector is the largest provider of residential rehabilitation services in NSW (also referred to as residential treatment services). Services offer group work, counselling and case management as part of a structured program to holistically address the underlying causes of problematic alcohol and drug use. Programs vary in length from four weeks up to 12 months and many provide continued support after program completion.

The NGO AOD sector also provide specialist treatment programs for methadone to abstinence and methadone stabilisation, Magistrate Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) programs, Drug Court services and support for families and significant others of people with drug dependency.

The Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NADA) is the peak organisation for the non-government alcohol and other drugs sector in NSW. NADA provides a range of programs and services that focus on sector and workforce development, information management, research and evaluation, governance and management support, sector representation and advocacy, as well as actively contributing to public health policy.

Further information about NADA and NADA’s programs and services is available on NADA​.​​​​​​​​

Page Updated: Tuesday 12 September 2017
Contact page owner: Centre for Population Health