The integration between alcohol and other drugs, mental health and primary care is at the core of our approach to commissioning. Collaborative approaches can build on the strengths of different service systems and provide a more responsive approach for people with harmful and/or problematic alcohol and other drug use.

We aim to increase capacity to provide drug and alcohol treatment, and facilitate easier access and better pathways to the “right” treatment to suit people’s needs. Commissioning will promote more joined up services, person centered and holistic responses, and respond to priority areas of need. Dedicated funding is provided to improve provision of services for Aboriginal people.

Priority is given to increasing cost effective, moderately intensive evidence based  interventions within a stepped care approach. Leveraging what works well, improving effectiveness and building from primary care to reduce the demand on the secondary and tertiary systems.

Essential to success is a continued focus on reducing barriers to treatment such as stigma, culture, distance, appropriateness, waiting times, clear entry points, care coordination and care pathways.

Key facts

  • The 2015 New Horizons: Review of alcohol and other drug treatment in Australia report found that there is an unmet demand for drug and alcohol treatment services in Australia. The National Ice Taskforce’s Final Report added that an increase in ice supply and use in Australia has exacerbated this unmet demand.
  • In response, the Commonwealth Government allocated $241.5 million to Primary Health Networks (PHNs) across the country to commission further drug and alcohol treatment services to meet local need, with a focus on culturally appropriate mainstream services and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • This additional funding to PHNs is not exclusively for the commissioning of ‘ice’-specific services. It is intended to increase capacity more broadly to adequately and effectively deliver treatment services.
  • Funding will help address the increased demand on services, support region specific approaches to drug and alcohol treatment, support evidence based treatment, promote linkages with broader health services, ensure culturally appropriate treatment services for Indigenous Australians and promote quality improvement approaches.
  • There are a number of restrictions on the types of activity that can be commissioned by PHN’s. Funding cannot be used to supplement shortfalls, extend or duplicate what is considered a State or Commonwealth responsibility and must be for new activity.
  • WAPHA and the PHN’s will focus investment on:
    • Cost effective and evidence based treatment options;
    • Early intervention for less problematic users in primary care settings;
    • Improved referral pathways across the drug and alcohol system with a focus on linking primary care to specialist drug and alcohol services;
    • Ensuring specialist services are accessed by those most in need; and
    • Promoting continuous quality improvement and flexibility.



A mix of restricted and open procurement processes are being undertaken in relation to identified priority and focus areas across both metropolitan and regional WA. Processes will be commensurate with the scale and scope of procurement.

Funding will continue to be provided under the Drug and Alcohol Program, and is reflected in the Program Guidelines available here. Funding administered by PHNs is also subject to the requirements set out in the Primary Health Network Program Guidelines and the relevant program annexure, Annexure A2 Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services available here.

Key objectives

  • To address the increased demand for access to treatment;
  • To support region specific, cross-sectoral, and integrated approaches based on local needs and focused on improving care coordination at the local level;
  • To facilitate and support evidence-based treatment for clients as well as flexible and stepped care models tailored to individual need and stage of change;
  • To promote linkages with broader health services, including mental health services, to better support integrated/coordinated treatment and referral pathways to support clients with co-occurring alcohol, other drug and mental health problems;
  • Promoting service linkages with other relevant support sectors, such as social supports, employment services, and child and family services
  • To ensure targeted and culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people which link to broader Indigenous health services; and
  • To promote quality improvement approaches and support primary health professionals and specialists through education and training.

All commissioned activities are expected to reflect quality and clinical safety, show flexibility, be appropriate and acceptable to the communities being served, support a person’s choice and promote equity.

Given the commitment to a systems based approach, demonstrated linkages and integration across sectors and engagement with primary care is essential.



In scope activity

The following types of treatment and support services are in scope for funding opportunities:

  • Early intervention targeting less problematic drug use, including brief intervention;
  • Counselling including psychotherapy;
  • Withdrawal management with pathways to post-acute withdrawal support and relapse prevention;
  • Residential rehabilitation* with pathways to post-acute withdrawal support and relapse prevention;
  • Day stay rehabilitation and other intensive non-residential programs;
  • Post treatment support and relapse prevention;
  • Case management, care planning, and coordination; and
  • Supporting the workforce undertaking these service types through activities which promote joined up assessment processes and referral pathways and support continuous quality improvement, evidence based treatment, and service integration.

*Given the higher cost of delivering Residential Rehabilitation when compared to outpatient treatments, the relative priority of Residential Rehabilitation within the broader service mix will require justification.

Out of scope activity;

The following are not eligible for consideration:

  • Non-evidence-based treatment models;
  • Unapproved pharmacotherapy treatments;
  • Court diversion programs; (activities relating to clients within the criminal justice system)
  • Clinical trials;
  • Online and telehealth services*;
  • Duplicative activity already funded by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, and any other organisations;
  • Capital expenditure;
  • Extension of existing funding arrangements;
  • Addressing funding shortfalls;
  • Community education, information, awareness raising services.

 *Online and telehealth services may be considered via an exemption process

Eligible organisations

  • Incorporated Associations
  • Incorporated Cooperatives
  • Companies (incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001)
  • Aboriginal Corporations (incorporated under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2006 and administered by the Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations);
  • Organisations established through a specific piece of Commonwealth or
  • State/ Territory legislation;
  • Partnerships (Organisations working in consortia, with a minimum of one lead agency working as the legal entity);
  • Trustees on behalf of a Trust; or
  • State/Territory or Local Governments.

Ineligible organisations

  • Prisons/ correctional services


Priority Setting

Collaborative Planning

  • WAPHA has worked closely with the WA Mental Health Commission and WA Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies as part of a collaborative planning phase.
  • Priority setting includes consideration of a range of evidence and indicators, including those identified in Better Choices/Better Lives Mental Health, Alcohol and other drug Services Plan 2015-2025.

Needs Assessments

  • In partnership with Curtin University, the MHC, the Aboriginal Health Council of WA and WANADA, baseline Needs Assessments have been undertaken across each of the PHNs.

Activity Planning

  • The Drug and Alcohol Treatment Activity Work Plans outline the Strategic Vision of the PHNs specific to drug and alcohol treatment as well as a  description of planned activities for 2016-2019 based on identified areas of need. Key priority areas include:
    • Tailored and stepped care treatment activities (includes provision of low intensity and brief intervention) with a focus on improving integration, pathways and gateways along the care continuum.
    • Virtual and place based precincts to improve patient journey and person centred approaches.
    • Addressing high levels of unmet need for vulnerable groups including increased access to appropriate services.
    • Engagement with primary care to increase opportunities for early intervention, address multiple morbidity and reduce potentially preventable hospitalisations.
    • Integrated models to respond to urgent and unmet needs of hard to reach groups, improve effectiveness and reduce system fragmentation.


Local engagement

Across the State, PHN staff are actively engaged in identifying needs and gaps through their participation in local networks, events and regional alcohol and drug management planning strategies.

Past Workshop –  Stakeholder Networking Sessions – 31 May & 2 August 2017

WAPHA has commissioned services and projects to improve health outcomes for vulnerable groups, including those experiencing problems with alcohol and drugs and mental illness. In line with the goal of improved integration we hosted networking sessions to bring together key service providers, many for the first time.

Representatives from a range of organisations and partnerships provided a brief update on planned activities and key priorities.

Events supported the creation of connections and sought to identify opportunities for collaboration and leverage of similar processes such as co design, capacity building and engagement.

WAPHA AOD MH Stakeholder Networking Session 31 May 2017


Past Workshop – Wednesday 8 February 2017 – Joining up the pieces

Organisations planning to respond to any of the  Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for Perth South PHN and Perth North PHN activities were invited to a facilitated workshop to test their thinking.

The aim of the workshop was to openly respond to any queries raised while completing an EOI, support a shared understanding of the EOI requirements and enable respondents to test out their proposed responses prior to the close of the EOIs. The workshop also provided an opportunity to network with other service providers and strengthen relationships that support integrated and place-based approaches into the future.


Past workshop – 4 October 2016 – An information forum for those interested in WAPHA activity related to mental health and alcohol and drugs was held on 4 October 2016 in Perth. View materials from the information session.

Expert Advice

  • In May 2016, an Alcohol and Other Drug Expert Advisory Group was established to help guide WAPHA in it’s initial round of planning and commissioning activities.
  • Membership was comprised of individuals with suitable knowledge and experience in the field, and the ability to take a systems approach to improving outcomes both for individuals and the broader community.
  • An Aboriginal Advisory Group for mental health and alcohol and drugs was also established in December 2016 to provide advice on the commissioning of services to meet the needs of Aboriginal people across WA.


Stay in touch / Get involved

Sign up to Primary Health Exchange for further information, current open EOIs, relevant literature and opportunities to contribute to online discussions.




Treating Alcohol and Other Drugs In Primary Care (TADPole)

ECU has been funded by WAPHA to conduct an educational program for primary health professionals to provide alcohol and drug treatment and support.  The education program consists of three components:

  • Activity 1: Challenging attitudes and common issues in primary care Two-hour face-to-face events focused on increasing the understanding and confidence of health practitioners and providing information on resources available to support health professionals and patients, while gently challenging attitudes.
  • Activity 2: Enhanced understanding of specific drugs and populations Two-hour interactive events where health professionals from the local area choose between a number of topics, view short video presentations on the topic and discuss issues of interest.
  • Activity 3: Skills development Two-hour events delivered face-to-face and/or by webinar covering skill-based topics such as motivational interviewing and brief intervention.

For further information contact Toni Wain on 08 6304 3538 or e-mail:

Ice Training for Frontline Workers

Ice: Training for Frontline Workers is a free resource for frontline workers who want to enhance their crystal methamphetamine skills and knowledge. It is relevant to a wide range of sectors, including health and welfare, education, criminal justice, and transport.

Developed by the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) as part of the Victorian Government’s Ice Action Plan.


Our services

From January 2017, a new range of services, including specialised services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, are being delivered in Western Australia across the following areas:

  • Community treatment and support services
  • Workforce training and development
  • System integration and improvement

Getting Help

A range of alcohol and drug services are available across WA. For more information visit Getting Help or call the Alcohol and Drug Support Line on (08) 9442 5000 (metro) or 1800 198 024 (country)

The Alcohol and Drug Support Line is a confidential, non-judgemental telephone counselling, information and referral service for anyone seeking help for their own or another person’s alcohol or drug use.

Breaking the Ice Online Support Program

Breaking the Ice is a free, confidential, online early intervention program for people who are using crystal methamphetamine (ice). The program is particularly recommended for young adults (aged 16-25) but can be used by people of any age.

It is designed to help participants identify any problems associated with their use of ice, in areas such as health, work, relationships and money; and consider the impact of making changes to their ice use, like quitting completely, reducing use, or using in a less risky manner.

Breaking the Ice is made up of two modules and uses motivational interviewing and cognitive behaviour therapy methods. Participants are required to register using an email address, password and phone number. The program can be completed over several sessions.

Mental Health and Alcohol and Drug Atlas

  • WAPHA, in partnership with the MHC and in consultation with WAAMH and WANADA has undertaken to map services as part of the Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Atlas.
  • The Atlas is a significant piece of work that will help to better understand the gaps, and help to inform development of a more collaborative, coordinated and integrated mental health service system.


  • Service information gathered for the Atlas has also helped to inform the development of referral pathways for GPs.
  • The HealthPathways team is currently working on the development of clinical pathways and information to help GPs support patients experiencing problems with alcohol and other drugs.
  • Stakeholders with an interest in assisting to map pathways for alcohol and drugs are encouraged to contact the Healthpathways team.


Free E Book – Illicit drug use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

A tactile, sensory tool which provides multiple ways of using technology to assist learning. Includes detailed information on the extent of illicit drug use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including overall self-reported prevalence and prevalence by type of substance. It outlines the health and social and emotional wellbeing harms associated with alcohol and drug use, as well as the associated hospitalisations, mortality, and wider social impacts. Created for Apple devices  and is free to download from iTunes and the AOD Knowledge Centre website.

Other available e-books include Volatile Substance Use

Service Directory – The Green Book

The Green Book provides a concise directory of Alcohol and Drug and Mental Health services available in WA.

The Green Book is free and available in print, online or via a smart phone/tablet App. Further information

Service Directory – AOD Connect App  

AODconnect is a national directory of alcohol and other drug treatment services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The app has been created for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander alcohol and other drug workforce or any health professional looking for a culturally appropriate service.

Consumer perspectives

Lives of Substance aims to support people who consider themselves to have an alcohol or other drug addiction, dependence or habit, and also aims to inform the public by sharing personal stories of these experiences.

Methamphetamine resources

Breaking the Ice offers a suite of resources for communities to assist people experiencing harm from methamphetamine use.

AOD in Primary Care

Codeine Resources for Health Professionals

Codeine Fact Sheet provides advice on how to manage and refer WA patients who may be experiencing problems with using codeine.

Codeine Screening Tool 

Articles on alcohol and drugs

The following are a range of articles relevant to the treatment of alcohol and drug problems within a primary care setting.

Crystal methamphetmine – Concerns and responses – Medical Journal of Australia

Preventing and reducing alcohol and other drug related harm among older people –  A practical guide for health and welfare professionals

Alcohol: Prevention, policy and primary care responses – RACGP




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