The Connection (Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy – CAHMA)

Provides a peer based support and education service for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people and their friends and family. The Connection service aims to reduce the harms associated with alcohol & other drugs, with a focus on illicit and/or injecting drug use.

Telephone: (02) 6279 1670
Fax: (02) 6279 1610
Mailing Address: GPO Box 1552, Canberra ACT 2601
Email address:
Social media:
Shop 15-16  Northpoint Plaza, 8 Chandler St, Belconnen (Ground level of the Belconnen Centrelink building)
Parent organisation:
Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL)

Access Information

Maximum waiting time for service: 

  • No waiting time

Target Group:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific
  • Adults
  • Men, women and couples (including same sex couples) and with accompanying children
  • Accepts both ACT and interstate residents

Documentation required:

  • No documentation required

When and how to access:

Operating hours: Program operating hours are 10am – 4pm (Mon- Fri except public holidays)
Ways to access: Drop in, no appointment required and outreach
Disability access: Accessible doorways
Referrals accepted from: Self, friend/family, another service, GP, Courts, Corrective Services and Police but no referrals are required
Childcare available: No childcare available
Other access information: Intoxicated services consumers are accepted. Alcohol/drug consumption is not allowed on premises


  • No assessment required
  • No appointment required


Program type: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peer based support, advocacy and education

Model: Peer Based Harm Reduction

Duration and intensity: One-off or ongoing based on clients needs

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

Philosophical approach: Harm Reduction

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

Additional program description: The Connection represents the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander drug users and promotes improved health and reduction of harms associated with illicit/injecting drug use. This is provided through peer based education workshops, information and policy development and dissemination, peer support, advocacy, education and, information and referrals. The Connection can provide consultancy/assistance and training upon request to organisations on issues relating to illicit/injecting drug use. See the CAHMA profile for a full list of activities that The Connection supports. The Connection offers outreach to a number of services including the Early Morning Centre.

Additional supports available:

  • Peer support and advice pre and post screening
  • Employment/Work placements/Traineeships/Job readiness
  • 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)

Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Support

  • Referrals to access screening, treatment and ongoing monitoring for viral hepatitis with external providers,
  • Supports people with advanced liver disease to access ongoing liver monitoring support through external organisations,
  • Referrals to access screening & treatment for sexually transmitted infections with external providers
  • Provides safe sex information
  • Partnerships with Hepatitis & sexual health organisations

Aftercare and Exit of Service Support

  • Aftercare support available
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Phone Support
  • Links with community self help groups
  • Active referrals and support to access other services

Harm Reduction

  • Harm reduction drug education and strategies (i.e safer injecting information, blood borne viruses, sexually transmitted infections, Pharmacotherapy treatment options)
  • Peer interventions: Peer support, case management and advocacy
  • Provides safe sex education
  • Provides condoms


  • Opioid overdose prevention and education sessions: The Connection works with CAHMA in delivering opioid overdose education sessions
  • Program provides access to Naloxone script (following completed to the CAHMA Overdose Management Training Workshop)
  • Supports access to over the counter naloxone (through CAHMA)

Mental Health

  • Screen for mental health
  • Suicide risk assessment
  • Staff have mental health training
  • Partnerships with mental health services

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff (including identified positions, volunteers, and management committees)
  • Staff undertake Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness training
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service in-reach to service
  • Ongoing Partnership with Hepatitis ACT Aboriginal Hep B Worker and Ombudsman Office Aboriginal Liaison Worker

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD

  • Staff undertake cultural awareness training

Tobacco Management

  • Designated smoking area
  • Provide tobacco screening
  • Provide tobacco brief interventions
  • Provide access to subsidised or free nicotine replacement therapies including multiple types of NRT (through CAHMA)
  • Service has a tobacco management policy


No cost

Staff available

  • AOD Worker (non clinical)
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Indigenous Peer Support Workers.
  • 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.

Help for Families & Carers

  • Information and education offered to families and carers

Alexander Maconochie Centre

  • Support people to transition from the AMC into community services

Other Information

  • Provides support letters for people to access Housing ACT
  • The Connection service works to support people to navigate both ATOD and social services. The Connection will support people through issues such as: probation and parole, Centerlink, housing, Child Protection Services, pharmacotherapy, rehabilitation/detox, etc.

Last Updated on April 2019

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