Police and Court Drug Diversion Service (Alcohol and Drug Services, Canberra Health Services)

Provides programs that aim to divert people apprehended for ATOD use or ATOD related offences from the judicial system into the health system.

Telephone: (02) 5124 1735
Fax: (02) 6205 8380
Mailing Address: GPO Box 825, Canberra City ACT 2601
Email address: Diversionservice@act.gov.au
Website: http://health.act.gov.au/our-services/alcohol-and-other-drugs/diversion-services
Location: Level 1, ACT Health Building, 1 Moore St, Canberra City ACT 2601
Parent organisation: Alcohol and Drug Services, Canberra Health Services

Access Information.

Maximum waiting time for service: 

  • No waiting time
  • Within 4 weeks

Target Group:

  • Men and women
  • Under 18 (i.e. 12 – 18 years)
  • Adults
  • Accepts both ACT and interstate residents

Documentation required:

  • Medicare Card

When and how to access:

Operating hours: Program operating hours are 9am – 5pm (Monday – Friday)
Ways to access: By appointment only
Disability access: Accessible toilets, lifts, doorways and parking
Referrals accepted from: Courts, Police, Office for Children, Youth and Family Support (Youth Justice)
Transport assistance available: Bus ticket


  • Appointment required
  • Face to face
  • Takes less than 1 hour

Specialist ATOD assessment includes 

  • Comprehensive alcohol, tobacco and other drug assessment
  • Comprehensive mental health history
  • Basic physical health & medical history
  • Social and family history
  • Domestic and family violence screening
  • Criminal and legal history
  • Risk Assessment
  • Includes other assessments: Suicide Vulnerability Assessment Tool (SVAT)

Treatment Plans

  • An individualised treatment plan will be developed


Program type: Police and Court Drug Diversion

Duration and intensity: Duration for Police referrals are 1-4 weeks. Duration for Court Alcohol and Drug Assessment Service (CADAS) referrals are pending the length of Court matters. Duration can extend to up to 2 years for people receiving Good Behaviour Orders.

Philosophical approach: Harm minimisation

Additional program description: Provides programs that aim to divert people apprehended for ATOD use or ATOD related offences from the judicial system into the health system:

Youth Alcohol Diversion (YAD): Provides ACT Policing alternatives in apprehension of young people (12 – 17 years) found to be intoxicated or in possession of alcohol. With parental consent, they can divert young people to attend an assessment and education/brief intervention. Non-compliance is reported and the ACT Policing Case Officers determine what action should be taken (if any), but can result in a charge proceeding to Court. Information related to alcohol and other support is also provided to parents and families. Young Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people can be assessed by the Aboriginal Liaison Officer and referred to culturally appropriate agencies for education/brief intervention.

Illicit Drug Diversion (IDD): ACT Policing can divert offenders following arrest for assessment and referral to treatment. For people who have been apprehended by ACT Policing for possession of a small amount of illicit drugs (2 cannabis plants or amount less than 50 grams; non-trafficable amount of all other illicit drugs; for information regarding the changes to the ACT Drug Threshold Laws go to http://www.justice.act.gov.au/page/view/3660/title/criminal-code-controlled-drugs-legislation). Treatment is provided by an approved ACT agency and can include education, counselling, withdrawal, pharmacotherapy or residential rehabilitation. Compliance with treatment is determined by the Police Drug Diversion Service workers, and if compliant, a report is made to ACT Policing and no conviction is recorded. Non-compliance is reported back, and ACT Policing determines what action should be taken (if any), but can result in a charge proceeding to court.

Court Alcohol and Drug Assessment Service (CADAS): A pre-sentencing option for people charged with ATOD related offences. The goals are to reduce recidivism during the Court period and to engage the client in treatment. CADAS staff service the Supreme, Magistrate and Children’s Courts, and provide an ATOD assessment and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. Case management, referral and support are provided for the length of Court proceedings. For people engaged with a treatment plan, while being released on bail attendance will be monitored and reported to the Court. Non-compliance does not necessarily result in a penalty but is taken into account by the Court at sentencing or by the Justice and Community Safety Directorate.

CADAS also provide assessment and treatment for the Alcohol Interlock Program. Courts are required by legislation to refer people to CADAS for assessment prior to sentencing when they are caught for following:

  • exceeding the prescribed concentration of alcohol (a BAC offence) and your BAC was 0.15g or more
  • refusing to provide a breath or blood sample related to alcohol
  • at the time of conviction or finding of guilt you had been convicted of 2 or more alcohol-related disqualifying offences within the previous 5 years

Treatment may be recommended and completion of this is a requirement for people engaging in the Interlock Program to have their full licence reinstated. People participating in the Interlock Program have their disqualification periods halved, an interlock device installed and progress monitored by the Road Traffic Authority (RTA). For more information about the Alcohol Interlock Program contact the Transport Regulation on (02) 6207 7122.

Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Support

  • Referrals to access screening, treatment and ongoing monitoring for viral hepatitis with external providers
  • Referrals to access screening & treatment for sexually transmitted infections with external providers
  • Provides safe sex information

Aftercare & Exit of Service

  • Phone support
  • Active referrals and support to access other services

Harm Reduction

  • Harm reduction drug education and strategies

Mental Health

  • Screen for mental health
  • Assessments include a mental health component
  • 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 staff (i.e. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Liaison Officer is part of Diversion Service)

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)

  • Access to interpreter service

Tobacco Management

  • Smokefree
  • Screen for tobacco use (i.e. On assessment)
  • Provide tobacco brief interventions (i.e. Referral to Nicotine Replacement Clinic as required)
  • Service has a workplace tobacco management policy


No cost

Staff available

  • AOD Worker (Clinical)

Help for Families & Carers

  • Information and education offered to families and carers

Alexander Maconochie Centre 

  • Assessments (i.e. Attend CADAS assessments on referral from Courts)

Bimberi Youth Justice Centre

  • Assessments (i.e. Attend CADAS assessments on referral from Courts and Youth Justice Services)

Other Information

  • Provides support letters for people to access Housing ACT
  • Preparation of reports for Courts

Last Updated on April 2019

Print Friendly, PDF & Email