Inpatient Withdrawal Unit (Alcohol and Drug Services, ACT Health)

Provides up to 7 days of medicated residential inpatient support for people experiencing withdrawal from AOD.

Telephone: (02) 6207 9977
Fax: (02) 6244 2744
Mailing Address: GPO Box 825, Canberra City ACT 2601
Email address:
Location: Building 7, The Canberra Hospital, Palmer St, Garran ACT 2605
Parent organisation: Alcohol and Drug ServicesACT Health

Access Information

Maximum waiting time for service: 

  • Up to one month
  • Triage based on medical priority and bed availability

Target Group:

  • Adults
  • Men and women
  • Accepts both ACT and interstate residents, however ACT residents get priority

Documentation required:

  • Medicare card
  • Concession card
  • Prescriptions

When and how to access:
Operating Hours: Program operating hours are  24 hours a day (7 days a week)
Ways to access: By appointment only
Disability access: Accessible toilets and doorways
Referrals accepted from: Self, friend/family, another service, GP, Courts, Police
Transport assistance available: Bus ticket, taxi
Childcare available: No childcare available
Other access information: Can access when intoxicated, however a medical assessment is required prior to admission if high level of intoxication


  • Assessment required
  • Over the phone
  • Face-to-face
  • Takes less than 1 hour
  • Includes alcohol, tobacco and other drug assessment
  • Includes mental health assessment
  • Includes physical health assessment
  • Includes other assessments (i.e. child protection if appropriate, Suicide Vulnerability Assessment Tool)

Admission Requirements for Residential Services Only

  • Mobile phone stored during stay
  • Searching of possessions
  • Possessions stored during stay (i.e. valuables)
  • Confiscation and disposal of alcohol and other drugs
  • Confiscation and disposal of tobacco
  • Time and days available for admission are 9.30am – 2pm (Monday – Friday)


Program type: Inpatient residential withdrawal

Model: Medical (medicated as required)

Duration and intensity: Average stay up to 5-7 days

Not able to consume alcohol or other drugs while in program: Withdrawal medication as required, prescription medications maintained.

Philosophical approach: Harm minimisation

Additional program description: Provides up to 7 days of medicated residential support for people experiencing withdrawal from AOD. Therapeutic support, referrals, follow-up specialist services and a psychosocial group program is provided including relapse prevention groups. Relapse prevention planning is supported and 2 week and 4 week follow up phone calls are made after discharge. Social Work support is available during the admission as well as support from NRT Clinician. Therapeutic groups are held daily as well as supervised therapeutic walks. Attendance at Smart Recovery and AA meetings are encouraged.

Additional supports available:

  • Aftercare (i.e. Linkages and referral to groups and/or counselling and treatment services)
  • Nutrition and Cooking Group and Art Therapy is provided weekly
  • Social worker can provide follow up phone calls one month after discharge to support continuation of relapse prevention planning.
  • Support to access BBV screening

Harm reduction initiatives

  • Harm reduction drug education and strategies (i.e safer injecting information)
  • Opioid overdose prevention and education

Mental Health

  • Screen for mental health
  • Assessments include a mental health component
  • Suicide risk assessment
  • Relationship with Mental Health ACT: consultation and liaison advice
  • Staff have mental health training
  • Partnerships with mental health services
  • Mental Health Specialist (i.e. Psychiatrist, Psychologist)

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

  • Staff undertake Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness training
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in-reach to service (i.e. Aboriginal Liaison Officer)
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff (i.e. Aboriginal Liaison Officer position)

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)

  • Access to interpreter services
  • Partnerships with CALD services

Tobacco Management

  • Smokefree
  • Screen for tobacco use (i.e. Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence)
  • Provide tobaccos brief interventions
  • Provide repeated or ongoing support and/or counselling for smoking cessation
  • Provide access to subsidised or free nicotine replacement therapies
  • Provide access to GPs/medical officers to prescribe NRT patches or other smoking cessation pharmacotherapies (i.e. Referral to your GP)
  • Service has a workplace tobacco management policy
  • NRT Clinician


Rent & Fees: No cost

Others: Support can be provided to access Centrelink and there is an exemption from requirement to be looking for work with Centrelink while engaged in program

Staff available

  • Nurse
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Addiction Medicine Specialist
  • Social Worker
  • Smoking cessation worker

Help for Families & Carers

  • Information and education offered to families and carers

Last Updated on October 2017

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