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Time to Detoxify?

There are two adult detoxification units in Canberra, one of them medicated and one of them not. The difference here is that in the medicated detox you may be given some form of medication to treat your withdrawl symptoms; the other detox unit does not allow any form of medication (unless it is prescribed to you beforehand and a dosing regimen is provided by your doctor. If you are admitted with medication it will be held by staff and given to you as your doctor prescribes.) Personal belongings are searched at both detox's before admission, and mobile phones are not allowed (they will be held safely for you).

Although some people don't like the "being locked in" aspect of detox units, this factor can be the one thing which makes this type of detox more successful than going it alone.

If you just can't stand the idea of being in a detox unit, and if you have a doctor who you feel you can talk to, you might want to consider detoxing at home. A good doctor can prescribe various medications which assist with many common withdrawl symptoms. For a home-detox to be successful, it should be well planned and you should stock up on lots of healthy food and drink, and keep on hand plenty of things to keep you occupied. Drop in at CAHMA or give us a call if you would like some advice or help with planning your detox.


Please take note: these services are NOT run by CAHMA.

Alcohol & Drug Program: Withdrawl Unit

(ATODA Directory info page: Withdrawl Unit)

Canberra's medicated Detox Unit, known as the Withdrawl Unit is run by the Alcohol and Other Drug Program (ADP) at the Canberra Hospital (Building 7, The Canberra Hospital, Palmer St, Garran ACT 2605). It provides up to 7 days of medicated residential (inpatient) support for people experiencing withdrawl from alcohol and other drugs. This is a free service for single adults without children (you don't have to be single, but couples are not accepted -though they may be admitted individually). Intake is via phone assessment; the number to call is (02) 6207 9977.

It can be hard to get into this detox for opioid withdrawl but if you persist you may get a bed. The ADP will usually try to get you thinking about going onto a pharmacotherapy program, like buprenorphine or methadone, rather than accepting you for withdrawl. This is because the period following detox is one of the highest risk periods for fatal overdose. You should be prepared for this when you speak to them as they can be rather stubborn. The exception to this is that they will usually accept you if you are booked into a rehab immediately after release from the detox unit. This can be difficult to organise, due to waiting lists etc. however the ADP may help you with this if you ask nicely. If this doesn't work, try asking us at CAHMA for some assistance.

Getting a bed in this detox (espescially for opioid withdrawl) can be extremely difficult. If you do get accepted into this unit, it can still take up to a month to get a bed.

Please take note: these services are NOT run by CAHMA.

DIRECTIONS: Arcadia House

Arcadia House, run by DIRECTIONS ACT, offers:

to people experiencing withdrawl from alcohol and other drugs. Arcadia House is located in the grounds of Calvary Hospital (Mary Potter Circuit, Bruce). Again, Arcadia House is open to single adults without children. Arcadia House may ask for a psychologists (or mental health) report or criminal record check (for violent or sexual offences) before admission.

All residential participants of Arcadia House programs are required to pay a weekly fee for accommodation and meals. Day Program participants pay a smaller fee for catering and other consumables.

The programs are based on Therapeutic Community principles, in which the community itself, through self help and mutual support, is the principal means for promoting personal change. The purpose of the Arcadia House program is to support clients to:

Please note Arcadia House is smoke free. Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy is made available to clients. >

Assesment is via phone on (02) 6132 4800, between the hours of 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

It is a condition of admission to Arcadia House that people participate in all aspects of the program. This includes:


Please take note: these services are NOT run by CAHMA.

There is also a youth detox in canberra, for people between the ages of 13 and 18 years...

Adolescent Drug Withdrawal Unit ADWU (Ted Noffs Foundation)

Provides up to 14 days of non-medicated residential support for young people aged 13 17 years experiencing withdrawal from AOD.

Program operating hours are 24 hours a day (7 days a week), office hours are 9am 5pm (Monday Friday).

Medication exclusions are Benzodiazepines and Opioid Maintenance Therapy. Prior to undertaking an assessment, young people can contact the services to request an over the phone screen. Can access when intoxicated.

Documents required: