Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia

Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia (DASSA) is a statewide health service that offers a range of prevention, treatment and education services for all South Australians.

DASSA's mission is:

To develop and deliver best practice in: preventing the uptake of harmful drug use; reducing the harmful effects of licit and illicit drugs; and offering pathways out of harmful drug use.

DASSA's role

DASSA is responsible to the Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse and is part of the Department for Health and Ageing; providing policy and planning advice to the Minister and the Chief Executive of the Department for Health and Ageing.

DASSA's strategic intention is the prevention and management of alcohol, tobacco and other drug issues across South Australia. To achieve this, DASSA:

  • advises on a whole-of-government approach to prevent the use of illicit drugs and the misuse of licit drugs
  • advises on policy relating to tobacco, alcohol and other drugs
  • provides or brokers a range of prevention, intervention and treatment programs across the State with a particular focus on high risk groups and behaviours
  • advises on evidence-based practice
  • participates in research.

DASSA in partnership with South Australia Police, leads the implementation of the South Australian Alcohol and Other Drug Strategy 2017-2021 (PDF 460KB). The aim of the Strategy is to:

Reduce the harms caused by alcohol and other drug problems to the South Australian community.

DASSA also leads efforts to achieve the following South Australia's Strategic Plan targets:

  • Target 80: Smoking - Reduce the smoking rate to 10% of the population and halve the smoking rate of Aboriginal South Australians by 2018 (baseline: 2008)
  • Target 81: Alcohol consumption - Reduce the proportion of South Australians who drink at risky levels by 30% by 2020 (baseline: 2007)

Additionally, DASSA's priorities and strategies are informed by:

DASSA also provides expert advice and support to South Australia's role in national policy development.

Harm minimisation

DASSA's work is based on the principle of harm minimisation, as described in the National Drug Strategy 2010-2015. Harm minimisation involves a co-ordinated, whole of government approach to addressing the 'three pillars' of demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction.

  • Demand reduction strategies designed to prevent the uptake of harmful drug use and to reduce drug use
  • Harm reduction strategies designed to reduce the harms associated with drug use for individuals and communities
  • Supply reduction strategies designed to disrupt the production and supply of illicit drugs.

Legislative framework

DASSA operates under the legislative framework provided by the following Acts of Parliament related to alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, which are committed to the Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse:


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