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 and other people. 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:
Location: Level 1, Sydney Building 112-116 Alinga St, Canberra City (in the bus interchange) ACT 2601
Parent organisation:  Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy (CAHMA)

Access Information

Maximum waiting time for service: 

  • No waiting time

Target Group:

  • 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 (Monday – Friday)
Ways to access: Drop in, no appointment required and outreach
Disability access: Stairway access only
Referrals accepted from: Self, friend/family, another service, GP, Courts and Police but no referrals are required
Other access information: Access to intoxicated costumers will be assessed on application for admission, alcohol/drug consumption is not allowed on premises


  • No assessment required


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

Duration and intensity: One-off or ongoing

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: Peer based harm reduction

Specialist focus interventions on drugs of concern: Although primarily concerned with injecting drug users, 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 Ainslie Village and Wruwallin Clinic (Alcohol and Drug Services at The Canberra Hospital).

Additional supports available:

  • Work placements (e.g. Cert IV in AOD), limited availability

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
  • Partnerships with mental health services

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

  • Program designed and delivered specifically for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people
  • Staff undertake Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness training
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in-reach to service
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (including identified positions, volunteers, and management committees)

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD

  • Access to interpreter services
  • Tools and resources in different languages (i.e. Limited resources available, but more can be obtained based on need)
  • Staff undertake cultural awareness training

Tobacco Management

  • Smokefree
  • Provide tobacco screening
  • Provide tobacco brief interventions
  • Provide repeated or ongoing support and/or counselling for smoking cessation
  • Provide smoking cessation support groups (i.e. tobacco management support and tobacco groups)
  • Provide access to subsidised or free nicotine replacement therapies (i.e. We CAN Program)
  • Service has a workplace tobacco management policy


No cost

Others: Can provide support to access Centrelink

Staff available

  • ATOD Worker (Non-clinical)
  • Other specialist staff (i.e.Peer-based staff have an extensive experience and knowledge of ATOD. All staff have direct knowledge and understanding of the lived experience of alcohol and/or illicit drug use. Staff positions include Alcohol and Other Drug Indigenous Peer Support Worker)

Help for Families & Carers

  • Information and education offered to families and carers

Alexander Maconochie Centre

  • 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
  • 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. The Connection aims to empower people, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to take control of their own health outcomes.

Last Updated on September 2016