CAHMA – Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation

A peer based users group run by and for past or current illicit/injecting drug users, their families and friends.

Telephone: (02) 6279 1670
Fax: (02) 6279 1610
Mailing Address: GPO Box 1552, Canberra City ACT 2601
Email address: info@cahma.org.au
Website: www.cahma.org.au
Location: Level 1, Sydney Building, 112-116 Alinga St, Canberra City ACT 2601
Parent organisation: Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL)

Access Information

Maximum waiting time for service: 

  • No waiting time

Target Group:

  • Adults
  • Men, women and couples (including same sex couples)
  • Accepts both ACT and interstate residents

Documentation required:

  • No documentation required
  • Medicare card is required for the prescription of take-home naloxone as part of the ACT Opioid Overdose Prevention and Management Program

When and how to access:
Operating hours: Program operating hours are 10am – 4pm (Monday – Friday), office hours are 9am – 5pm (Monday – Friday)
Ways to access: Drop in, no appointment required and outreach
Disability access: Stairway access only
Referrals accepted from: No referral required
Other access information: Can access when intoxicated

Assessment

  • No assessment required

Programs

Program type: Peer based support, advocacy, and education.

Duration and intensity: As required

Not able to consume alcohol or other drugs while in program: Intoxicated service consumers are accepted. Alcohol/drug consumption is not allowed on premises.

Philosophical approach: Peer based harm reduction

Specialist focus interventions on drugs of concern: Although primarily focused on people who inject drugs, CAHMA provides information and support on all types of drugs and drug use.

Additional program description: Represents the interests of illicit drug users and promotes improved health and reduction of harms associated with illicit/injecting drug use through peer based education workshops, information and policy development. Peer based overdose management training, naloxone brief intervention provided on demand. Peer support, advocacy, education, information and referrals are also provided. Provides consultancy/assistance and training upon request to alcohol and other drug services and other organisations, on issues relating to illicit/injecting drug use and consumer participation.

CAHMA also provides:

Peer Education Program:
Provides peer education groups run by and for past or current illicit/injecting drug users and pharmacotherapy consumers. Topics for harm reduction education workshops include: blood borne virus prevention and treatment; sexual health; overdose prevention; safer injecting; drug treatments, and co-occurring mental health issues.

Peer Treatment Support Service:
Provides information, peer support and referral for people considering or attempting to access drug treatment services and assists people to make informed treatment choices. The service promotes consumer rights and advocates on behalf of people experiencing treatment difficulties. In particular CAHMA supports and assists people to manage their health and wellbeing while waiting for service and assists people to navigate the health system.

Policy Support:
CAHMA can facilitate consultations and focus groups for consumers to input into local and national policy development activities and service level development. The program actively promotes health and human rights for people who inject drugs.

The Connection (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program of CAHMA):
Provides peer based support services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other people who are past or present illicit/injecting drug users in the ACT and surrounding area (see The Connection profile).

Naloxone Program – ACT Opioid Overdose Prevention and Management Program:
Naloxone is a Dual Schedule drug, which can be provided with or without a prescription from a GP, and reverses the effects of opioid overdose. The program is peer-led and provides training to opioid users, peers of people who inject opioids, or family or friends. Participants are taught to administer naloxone intramuscularly within a comprehensive overdose response education program. Opioid users who successfully complete the training program are prescribed and/or provided naloxone to be administered to them in the event of an overdose.

Pharmacotherapy Advocacy and Action Team (PHAAT):
A group for pharmacotherapy consumers. I.e. people on methadone or buprenorphine (Subutex and Suboxone). Meets at 4pm, on the last Thursday of each month (call for venue confirmation). Provides peer support, information, education and advocacy for issues related to pharmacotherapy treatment. PHAAT aims to improve treatment service provision. It provides access for consumers to decision making forums that govern the dispensing and prescribing of pharmacotherapies. Support is provided to assist people in accessing treatment; advocacy is provided for consumers experiencing any difficulties with their treatment.

Radio Show “News from the Drug War Front”:
A weekly radio show from 2 – 4pm on Tuesdays broadcast on community radio 2XX (98.3 FM.) Reports the latest news about drug use, prohibition politics, health messages and CAHMA and AOD services updates. The show is presented by CAHMA staff and volunteers.

Additional supports available:

  • Employment/Work placements/Job readiness (limited availability)
  • Volunteering (i.e. Volunteers are welcomed for various programs, including Radio Show (scripting and presenting), outreach (stalls & BBQ’s, etc), various (as appropriate)).
  • Brokerage (limited assistance available)

Mental Health

  • Screen for mental health
  • Suicide risk assessment
  • Relationships with Mental Health ACT (i.e. Maintaining joint management & Consultation and liaison advice)
  • Staff have mental health training

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

  • Staff undertake Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness training
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander services in-reach (for more information see the profile for The Connection)
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff  (for more information, see the profile for The Connection)

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)

  • Access to interpreter services
  • Staff undertake cultural awareness training

Tobacco Management

  • Smokefree
  • Designated smoking area
  • Provide tobacco brief interventions
  • Provide repeated or ongoing support and/or counselling for smoking cessation
  • Provide smoking cessation support groups (i.e. accredited QUIT trainer groups conducted 2-3 times year)
  • Service has a tobacco management policy

Cost

No cost

Others: Can provide support to access Centrelink

Staff available

  • ATOD Worker (Non-clinical)
  • Peer-Based staff have an extensive experience and knowledge of ATOD with an intimate knowledge and understanding of the lived experience of illicit drug use. Peer support provided along with consumers perspective and understanding of ATOD issues. Staff positions include: Alcohol and Other Drug Peer Education Workers, and Policy & Advocacy Worker.

Help for Families & Carers

  • Information and education offered to families and carers
  • Families and carers can access most CAHMA programs

Alexander Maconochie Centre 

  • Peer-based naloxone training is provided
  • Throughcare services to support people to transition from the AMC into community services (i.e. some assistance available)

Other Information

  • Provides support letters for people to access Housing ACT

Last Updated on September 2016