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Withdrawal from Drugs and Alcohol

Residential Treatment Services


Opioid Substitution Therapy

Other Options

 health professional image

Withdrawal from Drugs and Alcohol

If we drink alcohol or use drugs a lot, or for a long time, You may feel sick, sad, our bodies can get used to it. angry and/or anxious if you suddenly stop taking a drug that your body is used to. This is called withdrawal.

Detoxification (‘detox’) or withdrawal services can help you to safely stop or reduce the amount of drugs or alcohol you are using.

It is important to have support during withdrawal from drugs and alcohol. You can withdraw (‘detox’) at home with a doctor (GP) to check on you. There are also drug and alcohol withdrawal services in the community. Some hospitals have beds for people to withdraw from drugs and alcohol. A doctor, nurse or health worker may also give you medicine to help you.



 image of houseResidential Treatment Services

Residential treatment services (‘rehab’) are places where you go to stay with other people and learn ways to live without using drugs and alcohol. Some programs last for a few weeks while others can be as long as a year.

You need to stop using drugs and alcohol before you can go to most residential treatment services. The service may ask you to finish ‘detox’ or withdrawal treatment. Some residential treatment services also have a withdrawal program.

Some services can continue to help you when you are back in the community.




counselling imageCounselling

Counselling uses different skills to help you to understand and solve problems in your life. It can help you to stop or to use less drugs and alcohol. Counselling is done in a safe and private place.

Drug and alcohol counselling can be useful if you are waiting to start other types of drug and alcohol treatment.
Counselling can also be helpful during and after you have finished other treatment.




 health professional imageOpioid Substitution Therapy

Opioids are a type of drug. Some opioids are prescribed medicines for pain relief, such as codeine, morphine and oxycodone. Heroin is also an opioid.

Opioid Substitution Therapy is for people who wish to stop using opioids. This treatment is also called pharmacotherapy or maintenance.

In this treatment a public hospital clinic, private clinic or chemist gives you prescribed medicine to take, instead of using drugs. Examples of this medicine are methadone or buprenorphine. These can help stop you from feeling a strong need to have opioids. Some people find that taking methadone or buprenorphine helps them to have a more stable life.



Other Options

Peer support/ self-help groups

These are groups of people who get together to talk about their problems with drugs and alcohol. People share with each other what has helped them to stop drinking alcohol or using drugs.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and SMART Recovery are examples of peer support groups.

Diversion Programs

If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, and have been involved in a crime, you may be able to use a diversion program.

Diversion programs can help to stop people from having future problems with the law. Diversion programs can connect you with drug and alcohol treatment, or other services that may help.

Needle and Syringe Program

Some hospitals and community health clinics have a Needle and Syringe Program (NSP). At these services you can get clean and free injecting equipment such as new needles, swabs and wheel filters. Using clean, new equipment can help to stop you getting infections or illnesses like HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C. You can also get rid of used needles safely at these services.

Traditional/Complementary Medicine

These are medicines or treatments such as acupuncture or herbal medicine.

If you are using these treatments, please talk to your doctor or health worker about how they may affect you.


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