Withdrawal services - referral pathways during COVID-19

Information for health professionals

What is the first point of contact for clients seeking withdrawal services?

Anyone seeking support for substance use withdrawal can contact the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1300 131 340 between 8:30am and 10.00pm, seven days a week for confidential counselling, support and referral.

Most withdrawal states are of mild to moderate intensity and can respond well to treatments that GPs can provide. GPs can also access the Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS) for further details about managing withdrawal.

People having a past history of severe withdrawal, for example associated with seizures, should contact ADIS identifying such risk and be considered for DASSA’s priority waiting list for alternative treatment options.

Who can access the Withdrawal Services facility at Glenside?

The facility is temporarily being used to support people who are COVID-19 positive, Aboriginal, rough sleeping and have a substance use issue requiring intensive support at an inpatient facility.

The facility is providing a managed alcohol program as well as detoxification.

Referrals are made through the State Control Centre - Health or from hospital tertiary services for COVID positive clients.

What are the alternative options for access to withdrawal services?

The Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) continues to be the first point of contact for referrals to alternative pathways for withdrawal management.

DASSA has scaled up withdrawal support through three streams:

  1. More outpatient withdrawal support is available
    Ideally this support will be through face-to-face appointments at DASSA, and transport can be supported by DASSA. If face-to-face attendance is not possible, telehealth can be offered with prescribed medication delivery also possible.
  2. Home based withdrawal
    In partnership with Sonder, DASSA has increased access to home-based withdrawal for less complex clients, in the central, northern and southern metropolitan areas.
  3. Access to inpatient care
    DASSA is working in partnership with the Adelaide Clinic and has purchased additional inpatient beds for clients risk assessed as requiring immediate access to inpatient withdrawal for alcohol dependence. Access to their beds is through a DASSA referral.

DASSA is also continuing to assess other alternative inpatient withdrawal options.

What are the options for people seeking treatment in regional and rural areas?

People in regional and rural areas can contact the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on
1300 131 340 between 8:30am and 10.00pm, seven days a week for confidential counselling, support and referral. Telehealth support through DASSA is the primary avenue for withdrawal support in these areas.

For people clinically assessed as requiring inpatient support withdrawal management is provided at their local hospital.

It should be noted there are significant strains on the health and non-government workforce and demand for hospital services. Local services are having to triage inpatient access based on the most pressing needs across the community. DASSA will continue to liaise with our health colleagues in the regions to facilitate inpatient withdrawal options where possible.

How are substance dependence and withdrawal being managed for COVID-19 positive patients when quarantining at home or medi-hotels?

If you are aware of any COVID positive clients in home quarantine or medi-hotels that require support with alcohol or substance withdrawal, please contact the COVID Care Response Team 1800 272 872. DASSA has established a consultation and liaison pathway with this service to support their clinical care.

The medi-hotel admission process includes the AUDIT-C screening tool and questions about MATOD. There are some restrictions on alcohol consumption in medi-hotels to minimise the risk of adverse events.

How can clients access Rapid Antigen Tests prior to making contact with services?

DASSA does not have access to any additional supply of Rapid Antigen Tests.

Rapid Antigen Tests are sold commercially in supermarkets and pharmacies.

Any patients who have had COVID-19 and been discharged following quarantine from Glenside will have a discharge certificate providing clearance.

What are the options for clients with complex needs, especially where home is not a suitable place for detoxification?

DASSA’s triage team has assessed the highest priority cases on the waiting list for escalation and has expanded outpatient services and access to inpatient care. DASSA has been providing daily contact with many clients that meet this criteria and is providing priority access to the available withdrawal services.

What can we do in our own communities to support clients during this time?

DASSA is interested in exploring any proposals to offer flexible support, for example through temporary use of some residential rehabilitation beds for supported inpatient withdrawal where available. Please contact DASSAHealthPolicy@sa.gov.au with your proposal of the best way to provide localised withdrawal support options for your client group.

Another practical way to support community members is to facilitate access to fresh food every day, to help prevent further health complications associated with alcohol dependence.

Where can I find information on managing COVID-19 positive clients?

I missed the information session held on the 19 January 2022, where can I find the recording?

This information session is available for viewing below.