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
  • People under 18 may be able to access some supports (16 +)

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


  • 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. Consumption 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, and various other means. Peer support, advocacy, education, information and referrals are also provided. 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).
In addition, The Connection currently runs a program called Taboo. This program is for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders and friends & family who are 16-25 years of age. The program meets on a monthly basis providing education on drugs, overdose, blood borne viruses, sexually transmissible infections, harm reduction, stigma and discrimination, and how to use the knowledge to become effective peer educators and mentors within their communities.

Additional supports available:

  • Volunteering (i.e. Volunteers welcome for various programs)

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

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD

  • Tools and resources in different languages (i.e. Limited resources available, but more can be obtained based on need)

Tobacco Management

  • Provides tobacco screening
  • Tobacco management support
  • Tobacco groups


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. As current or recent drug users, all staff have direct knowledge and understanding of the lived experience of 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

Other Information

  • Provides support letters for people to access Housing ACT

Last Updated on November 2014