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Annual Report 2021/22

Commissioning Services

Alcohol and Other Drugs

CESPHN commission 16 Alcohol and Other Drug services


Over the past year, service providers commissioned by CESPHN have supported 2,798 clients and provided 22,243 occasions of service of direct treatment.

The principal drugs of concern for clients accessing treatment within the CESPHN region were:









Of those episodes closed throughout the 21-22 financial year:


Of clients saw an improvement in K10 scores (Kessler 10)


Improvement in SDS (Severity of Dependence)


Improvement in WHO8 (Quality of Life) score

Alcohol and Other Drug services have continued to show resilience and flexibility throughout the pandemic.  For many services, we have seen the development and continuation of hybrid models of care, with clients being able to access face to face, online and telephone support.

Recognition of Lived Experience

 To bring light to the importance of the consumer’s voice and experience, members of the AOD advisory Committee and people who have a lived and living experience of alcohol and other drug use came together this year and developed a Statement of Lived Experience

Telehealth Alcohol Withdrawal and Recovery Service

This year, CESPHN co-commissioned a new GP-led home-based alcohol withdrawal project along with other NSW PHNs (South Eastern Sydney NSW PHN – Coordinare and Sydney North PHN). Dr Chris Davis of East Sydney Doctors has transformed his successful Clean Slate Clinic to provide support to patients via telehealth through a Proof-of-Concept trial of a Primary Care Telehealth Alcohol Withdrawal and Recovery Service. The project has supported patients to successfully withdraw from alcohol as well as provide aftercare support and follow up via regular video consultations with the Clean Slate GP and AOD Nurses. This innovative project is also being supported by an evaluation measuring long term outcomes 12 months post detox, provided by the University of Sydney.

Supporting People Transitioning from Prison into the Community

Community Restorative Centre’s (CRC) Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Transition Project delivers holistic treatment to people with complex needs transitioning from prison into the community. The program provides pre-release engagement and AOD support and counselling within a holistic approach that recognises the social and community context of AOD use, working with individuals to develop skills to manage AOD use.



Sam was not accessing pharmacotherapy treatment in custody and during our pre-release sessions we identified that it was something he was interested in as a ‘safety net’ for return to the community. He told me: “If I am having treatment, I won’t use heroin”. We discussed potential options, and I reassured Sam that I would do my best to support him.

Knowing the wait times to get into a public clinic or private prescriber can be up to 6 weeks, I reached out to a local pharmacist (a contact I had made through my outreach work) who referred me to a private billing preventative medicine specialist in the Inner West. I was able to engage with this doctor and arrange an appointment for Sam within two days of his release date.


Entry into community

I attended the initial appointment with Sam. The doctor completed a thorough assessment (three appointments in the first two weeks) and asked Sam how he now felt about Suboxone, which had been his preferred option originally. Sam replied, “I think I will give counselling a try as my treatment [instead]”.

The doctor quickly reassured Sam that if he felt any urges or cravings, or used at all, he could contact her straight away or simply present at the practice for support. She let him know that pharmacotherapy would remain an option and she encouraged Sam to continue to see her, with my support. Sam has been doing that fortnightly and is bulk billed. Sam is also continuing to work with me to achieve broader goals, e.g., studying.