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DACS Services

Aboriginal Drug & Alcohol Team provides access to flexible, holistic & culturally sensitive health services for Aboriginal clients & their community to achieve better health outcomes & access to health services in relation to drugs & alcohol. The team work in conjunction with non-Aboriginal staff to ensure culturally appropriate care.

Assertive Community Management services is a multidisciplinary team that assists in providing longer term approaches to addressing the risks associated with chronic alcohol & other drug use. It aims to reduce presentations to EDs; & reduce homelessness with improved access to longer-term treatment & support for clients, improving general health, nutrition & social functioning, & reducing the risk of relapse through the establishment of effective prevention strategies.

Calvary Mater Newcastle (CMN) Partnership Calvary Mater Alcohol & Drug Unit work in partnership with DACS, other Calvary Mater, HNELHD & community services. The small multidisciplinary team provide outpatient Addiction Medicine/Nursing clinics, including a rapid access outpatient withdrawal service; comprehensive consultation liaison service to CMN (including the ICU/ED) & elective drug 
& alcohol admissions for the most complex cohort of patients who may not be appropriate for outpatient withdrawal or inpatient withdrawal services at Lakeview Unit BDH. The Unit staff are also involved in CMN education programs, supervision of JMO's & other staff & host placements for medical, nursing & allied health students.

Clinical Nurse Consultants (CNCs) provide advanced nursing services to assist in the treatment of complex drug & alcohol clients in collaboration with the local hospitals, community services & non-government organisations. CNCs provide clinical nursing leadership & contribute to research efforts.

Clinical Nurse Educators (CNEs) provide & facilitate DACS staff education & training regarding drug & alcohol treatment & care 
planning with a focus on skill & knowledge development particularly for new practitioners. In addition the CNE assists with the delivery of drug & alcohol education to acute care & community clinicians.

Community Counselling offers counselling services for people who are concerned about their own or are affected by another 
person’s moderate to severe substance use. The services provide tailored counselling modalities for clients who are affected by 
substance use. Consultation, education & skills training for health & welfare providers is also available.

General Practitioner & Pharmacy Support provides support & guidance to general practitioners as OAT prescribers & to community 
pharmacies to deliver opioid treatment in primary care settings

Harm Minimisation Program / Needle Syringe Program is designed to reduce drug-related harm by providing clean needles, syringes & other equipment related to injecting drug use as well as safe sharps disposal, condoms, lubricant & education pamphlets. Also offered is information & referrals to other services for sexually transmitted & blood borne diseases. A range of resources are provided to secondary harm minimisation outlets as well as outreach to various locations.

Hepatitis C Virus Clinic provides Hepatitis C Virus screening & treatment for people on opioid treatment if indicated. Cirrhosis screening is also provided using a FibroScan® machine with referral to John Hunter Hospital liver clinic for ongoing management of cirrhosis if required.

​​​​​​​Hospital Consultation & Liaison services are provided for patients admitted to hospital for other reasons where drug & alcohol concerns are a complicating factor. John Hunter & Maitland Hospitals have dedicated services to provide drug & alcohol consultation & liason support & advice to the primary treating teams.

Hunter Drug Court is a court diversion program providing criminal offenders who have pled guilty an opportunity to receive treatment for drug dependence rather than remain in custody. Referrals are made by Local Courts to the Hunter Drug Court Program. Participants must be eligible, appropriate & reside in the identified catchment area. There are three phases in the program including stabilisation, consolidation & re-integration.

Youth Drug & Alcohol Clinical Services (YDACS) reduce the harms associated with problematic substance use, by providing a safe, supportive service to young people (12-18yrs), with a particular focus on high-risk young people & their families. YDACS take an integrated approach to client care acknowledging that young people present with other conditions & comorbidities, most commonly mental health. Early intervention & linking young people & their families with specialist youth drug & alcohol services can reduce the burden of disease, through provision of developmentally appropriate & targeted interventions to interrupt the progression of drug use.

​​​​​​​Intake Services are 5 day a week services where the majority of referrals for treatment are received. These referrals can be by phone from the person requesting Drug & Alcohol services or by email/fax from other service providers including general practitioners, other HNE services & government & non-government agencies. The referral is then allocated to the most appropriate clinical service for further assessment.

Involuntary D&A Treatment (IDAT) Program Officers liaise with services to facilitate engagement in short term care, with an involuntary supervised withdrawal component, to protect the health & safety of people with severe substance dependence who have experienced, or are at risk of, serious harm & whose decision-making capacity is considered to be compromised by their substance use.

Magistrates Early Referral into Treatment (MERIT) is a special Magistrates’ program that will provide the opportunity for some defendants with drug problems to work, on a voluntary basis, towards rehabilitation prior to sentencing. The MERIT program allows defendants to focus on treating their drug problem in isolation from legal matters.

Neuropsychology Service provides ongoing oversight, training & consultation for the DACS 3-stage cognitive screening program. This includes individual consultation & comprehensive neuropsychological assessment where indicated. The Neuropsychology Service is based in Newcastle, but provides services across the district through regular outreach & telehealth.

Newcastle Cannabis Clinic provides comprehensive assessment & treatment for individuals who present with cannabis as the primary drug of concern. The clinic is able to provide specialised treatment for people using cannabis with co-existing mental health disorders including provision of support & information for parents, carers & concerned others. Education, consultation & training can also be provided to other service providers.

Nurse Practitioners provide comprehensive clinical nursing leadership, ensuring advanced assessment, person centred management planning & investigation including physical assessments, diagnostic reasoning & referrals, together with therapeutic interventions, including psychopharmacological interventions, for people experiencing complex health difficulties & issues of substance use within the NP scope of practice.

Pharmacotherapy Services The Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) is a voluntary program providing pharmacotherapy clinics that commence & stabilise people on methadone or buprenorphine treatment over a short time frame. Participation in treatment brings many previously marginalised opiate users into contact with health services. Withdrawal management, OAT & other pharmacotherapy treatments, referral & medical patient reviews are also provided. Access to health services, counselling & welfare services are facilitated through participation in the Program. Once stabilised clients will be transferred to the community (to dose at a pharmacy). The service is also actively involved in many DACS clinical research trials.​​​​​​​

RACP & RANZCP Training DACS is an accredited site for Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) Addiction Medicine, Paediatric, Community Child Health, Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine & Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Addiction Psychiatry training through provision of rotations for registrars & year 1 & 2 post graduate medical practitioners.

Research Team is dedicated to funding & undertaking research to expand the evidence-base for novel & existing drug & alcohol treatments with the aim of improving outcomes & quality of life for people seeking treatment for drug & alcohol dependence. A wide variety of research is undertaken, ranging from surveys to multicentre randomised controlled trials. DACS Researchers work primarily in collaboration with universities, other health & non-government organisations throughout Australia, who all share the same vision of translating research findings into evidence-based clinical practice.

Staff Specialist Clinics provide drug & alcohol Staff Specialist outpatient clinics including high-risk antenatal & pain mgmt. clinics.

Stimulant Treatment Program provides education, support, assessment & counselling for individuals whose primary drugs of concern are stimulants. Consultation & training is provided to other service providers & support & information is provided for parents, carers & concerned others.

Substance Use in Pregnancy & Parenting (SUPPS) improves identification of, & support to, substance using pregnant people, it strengthens access to & expands SUPPS across the district to identified sites & builds the capacity of broader health systems to manage pregnant people who may be using substances (Consultation Liaison approach). It ensures appropriate clinical & psychosocial management with improved care coordination & improved access via sustained home visiting (up to 2 years) with a focus on relapse prevention & parenting skills. The Service improves access for Aboriginal women, including effective partnerships between health & Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

Support (Peer) Worker Program DACS Support workers have lived experience of participating & receiving services from drug & alcohol services. Their role is to provide knowledge & support to people who are being provided a service by DACS. This may take the form of walking beside them on their journey through the service, supporting clients to advocate for themselves, being part of group programs & supporting referrals. The support workers will also be representatives of the consumer perspective within DACS.

Virtual Care Services provides Opioid Treatment to patients residing in rural & remote locations of the Hunter New England Local Health District. The Virtual Care Hub works in partnership with the Mid-North Coast & Northern NSW Local Health Districts to provide Opioid Treatment to patients in consultation with local Drug & Alcohol Clinics. Consults are conducted using videoconferencing technology with the prescriber located at a HNE site & a local Clinician supporting the patient to use the technology at their end. The Virtual Care Service aims to increase access to Specialist Addiction Medicine services for patients living in regional, rural & remote areas across NSW.

Whole Family Team (WFT) is a child centred, family focussed tertiary health service that has been established to address the needs of families where parents have mental health &/or drug & alcohol concerns, identified parenting difficulties & significant child protection concerns. The aims are to enhance the care, safety & wellbeing of children, improve parenting capacity & developmental outcomes for children, develop sustainable healthy family relationships & improve access to services for families. Referrals are made by Department of Communities & Justice. WFT clinicians work with families for up to twelve months both in their homes & in the Community providing assessments, psychoeducation & interventions in partnership with other service providers.

Withdrawal Management Services Inpatient medical drug & alcohol withdrawal management treatment with average stay of 5-7 days. The Service provides selective withdrawal management of other drugs for patients who are receiving opioid treatment & facilitates transfers from Methadone to Depot Buprenorphine treatment & Benzodiazepine reduction management. The Service assists with transfer of patients from inpatient services (once their condition has stabilised) for consolidation in outpatient or rehabilitation settings. The Service offers withdrawal Management for pregnant patients up to 20 weeks gestation & is actively involved in DACS clinical research trials.