DASSA referral information

Referrals to DASSA from health professionals

The DASSA referral resource includes a 1) DASSA referral guide, 2) DASSA referral form and 3) Referral information for clients. This resource is available as a clinical template for import into most GP practice software.

To maximise the efficiency and accuracy of the referral, DASSA strongly recommends that the resource is imported into your practice software and completed electronically.

You or your practice manager can access these resources from the Adelaide Primary Health Network website using the search function or entering https://adelaidephn.com.au/resources into your web browser, then:

  • Enter the key word 'DASSA' to access the clinical templates of the DASSA referral resources.
  • Enter the key words 'importing templates' to access instructions for importing templates into GP practice software.

Alternatively, complete the form as directed in the ‘DASSA Referral form guide (DOC 125KB)’  and attach the patient’s medical/mental health history and current medications to this referral. Details of where to send the referral form are included on the form. (Where to Refer)

When making a referral:

Referrals to DASSA from the Department for Child Protection (DCP)

DCP staff wishing to refer clients to DASSA Inpatient and Outpatient Services please use the following referral form:

Referrals for Inpatient Withdrawal Management Services from the community

Eligibility: Inpatient withdrawal is available for patients who cannot be safely managed in their community, are independent in their daily living activities and:

  • Have a complex medical or psychiatric condition exacerbated by the substance use.
  • Are alcohol, opioid, CNS depressant dependent, or a poly-drug user.
  • Have a history of seizures or delirium associated with substance withdrawal.
  • Have been unsuccessful at supervised ambulatory withdrawal (through GP, NGO or DASSA services).
  • Are pregnant (up to 28 weeks gestation) and requiring support through withdrawal.

If it is unclear whether inpatient withdrawal management is appropriate for your patient contact Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS) on (08) 7087 1742 for advice.

This service provides assessment and inpatient medical detoxification for people withdrawing from alcohol and a range of other drugs. The service is free and confidential. Services are located at Glenside Health Services, 226 Fullarton Road, Eastwood SA 5063.

Use the DASSA Referral Form (DOC 125KB) to refer patients/clients to this service.

Patients/clients can also contact the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1300 13 13 40 to be assessed for admission to inpatient withdrawal management services.

The Inpatient Withdrawal Services (Short Stay Admission) — Information for clients (PDF 165KB) and their families brochure can be downloaded for your patients/clients.

Referrals from acute hospitals

Direct transfers from acute hospitals to DASSA Withdrawal Services can be arranged for higher risk patients needing inpatient withdrawal, who have been medically cleared, are not subject to any Mental Health Treatment Orders, are not needing IV treatment, and are able to attend to their own activities of daily living. Transfer may be arranged on the same day, but is often deferred to the following day due to bed availability.

  • refer to your own Organization Wide Instructions regarding this, or
  • contact your Drug and Alcohol Consultation Liaison Service if at FMC, RAH or LMHS, or
  • call the DASSA Withdrawal Services Liaison Nurse or Coordinator (08) 7087 1700 between 8.00 am and 5.00 pm seven days per week.

Referrals to DASSA community based outpatient clinics – metropolitan and country

Eligibility: Where patients and clients need multi-disciplinary medical, nursing and allied health interventions, DASSA is able to provide a range of services and ongoing care (see below).

Clients/patients needing less intensive interventions (e.g. those who have already ceased their substance use, or reduced it to low levels, who primarily need relapse prevention interventions) will be referred to other services.

Contact details of the DASSA metropolitan outpatient clinics and country counsellors are available here DASSA Community clinic and country counsellor contact list (PDF 90KB).

To determine the appropriate metropolitan clinic to refer patients/clients to, see the Map of DASSA metropolitan catchment areas (PDF 125KB).

Use the DASSA Referral form (doc 125KB) to refer patients/clients for these services.

People wishing to self-refer should contact the Alcohol and Drug Information Service for further advice 1300 13 13 40.

Service responses available through DASSA


Referred patients/client will undergo an initial comprehensive assessment by a clinical staff member. Appropriate treatment options will be explored. The DASSA clinician will communicate the outcome of this assessment back to the referring service.

Therapeutic counselling

  • DASSA is able to provide counselling services for those people seeking to overcome drug dependence. The provision of counselling services by DASSA is appropriate where people have complex presentations associated with the need for ongoing multi-disciplinary medical, nursing and allied health interventions.
  • Clients/patients may be referred on to services within the non-government sector, where these services can match the client/patients needs. Referrals will be discussed with the client and the original referring service will be informed of referrals made by DASSA.

For patients/clients with opioid dependence DASSA can provide:

  • Review the use of prescription opioids for chronic pain: A comprehensive initial assessment, including a medical assessment will be undertaken. A letter will then be sent to the referring GP. Where appropriate copies may also be sent to the Drugs of Dependence Unit. GP's may be provided with advice regarding how they can continue to manage the patient. Where appropriate a recommendation may be made for patients to be initiated onto Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) with methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone.
  • Initiation of pharmacotherapy treatment: DASSA doctors are able to initiate a range of pharmacotherapy treatments for opioid dependence. Methadone and buprenorphine/naloxone are commonly used for long term Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD).
    DASSA can commence and stabilise a patient/client on Suboxone and then transfer them back to their GP for ongoing care.
  • A take-over of existing MATOD authority: DASSA metropolitan outpatient clinics are able to take over the MATOD authority held by GPs, when patients are non-compliant or de-stabilised whilst under GP care. Depending on the wishes of the GP and the outcome from specialist treatment from DASSA, this may be a temporary or a permanent arrangement.

Other medication based treatments

Besides opioid dependence, some other substance dependencies can be treated with medications.

For alcohol dependence, acamprosate, naltrexone or disulfiram are the more frequently prescribed medications.

DASSA clinicians can commence these medications and provide advice to the referring GP or specialist for continued provision of this treatment.

As part of a comprehensive treatment plan, Modafinil may be used by DASSA services to assist with methamphetamine withdrawal.

Referral back to GP treatment when stabilised

As with most specialist services, patients are normally referred back to their GP, when their clinical situation has stabilised.

For ongoing support managing patients with drug and alcohol issues Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service can be contacted by telephone (08) 7087 1700  24 hours 7 days/week including public holidays or e-mail your enquiry to: HealthDACASEnquiries@sa.gov.au

Out of these hours, medically urgent calls from a hospital based Medical Consultant, country hospital medical officer or GP will always receive a response.