Treatment and Support Options
A range of alcohol and other drug treatment and support options are available throughout Western Australia. Learn more about the types of services available here:
Brief intervention session
An opportunity to learn more about alcohol and other drugs, their effect on your physical and mental health, relevant laws related to alcohol and other drug use, and where to go for more help if needed. One or two sessions may be all that is needed.
Counselling (individual, couples, families and groups)
Alcohol and other drug counselling aims to assist clients in understanding the role and/or impact of alcohol and other drugs in their life, and how to make changes that will improve health and wellbeing. Common counselling techniques include Motivational Interviewing, problem solving, goal setting, dealing with relapse and cognitive behavioural therapy.
Counselling sessions may be one-on-one, with couples or families, and in groups.
People who use alcohol and other drugs can attend counselling, and so can people impacted by someone else’s alcohol and other drug use.
Withdrawal / detoxification (detox) services
People who are dependent on alcohol and/or other drugs may need to spend time with a health professional while use is reduced or stopped. This keeps the person safe and supported while withdrawing.
Most people stay at a service while they withdraw. Some people arrange to withdraw at home with the support of visiting health professionals.
The detoxification process will only treat the immediate physical effects of withdrawing from a drug; it will not help address the psychological, social, and behavioural issues that underlie dependency. Additional support is usually required.
After withdrawal, patients can attend counselling, groups, residential rehabilitation, or a regular day program (sometimes known as day-hab).
Sobering-up centres are an alternative to police lock-up for people found intoxicated from any drug in a public place. This is a minimalist intervention aimed at reducing harm on the streets and in custody. People may be referred by police, but can also self-present or be referred by other agencies. The Detoxification Service uses a supportive care model, based on non-medical or low-medical interventions. There are sobering up centres throughout Western Australia.
Relapse and relapse prevention
Alcohol and other drug use is a chronic health condition. People who have problems related to alcohol and/or other drug use may briefly lapse and use again or may start to use at previous levels – a relapse.
A brief lapse or relapse can be overcome and may provide an opportunity to learn and grow.
It’s important to know that support is available for people who relapse. Alcohol and other drug services understand that relapse is part of the recovery process and will work with clients to prevent and manage relapse.
More information can be found at https://adf.org.au/reducing-risk/relapse
During pharmacotherapy, drugs are prescribed by a doctor to help treat an alcohol and/or other drug dependency. Pharmacotherapy is usually offered alongside other services including withdrawal and counselling.
Harm reduction is an opportunity to look at the risks of alcohol and other drug use, and to find ways to reduce these risks. For injecting drug users, a range of harm reduction services across Western Australia offer free, or very low cost, needle and syringe programs (NSPs). To find out more, visit https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/N_R/Needle-and-syringe-programs-in-WA .
To find a needle and syringe program near you, a list of WA services providing NSP can be found at https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/U_Z/Where-to-find-needle-and-syringe-programs-in-WA
Residential rehabilitation and Therapeutic Communities (rehab)
Alcohol and other drug residential rehabilitation services, including Therapeutic Communities, offer intensive and structured programmes delivered in controlled residential environments.
The majority of residential rehabilitation programmes require consumers to be drug free on entry, although some provide withdrawal services to facilitate abstinence. Treatment begins following withdrawal / detoxification.
Entry to residential rehabilitation service, including Therapeutic Communities, may take up to four months after intake/assessment. Clients are supported during this time with case management, counselling and/or groups.
Residential rehabilitation programs run from 6 weeks to 12 months. Several Therapeutic Communities in Western Australia offer 12 week programs.
There are residential rehabilitation services throughout Western Australia, and some of these work with women with children, and families.
After care and Transition Housing & Support Programs
Support is available to clients after completion of a residential rehabilitation program to assist with personal recovery and relapse prevention. Residential rehabilitation services may also offer a Transition Housing and Support Program (THASP), providing community based, transitional accommodation for people exiting a program.