DASSA referral information

Referrals to DASSA by health professionals

The ‘DASSA referral form’ is available here.

Complete the form as directed in the ‘DASSA Referral form
guide’ 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.

When making a referral:

  • The patient must agree to the referral and be told to expect a phone call or text from DASSA, and
  • Offer the patient the ‘Referral information for client’ resource.

DASSA referral resources, formatted as clinical templates for importing into various GP practice software, are available from the Adelaide Primary Health Network website. Using the search function on the Adelaide PHN page at https://adelaidephn.com.au/resources:

  • 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.”

Referrals for alcohol or drug withdrawal

Referrals from the community

Many patients/clients can be safely withdrawn from drugs in the community.
For more information visit the substance withdrawal management page.

  • Some clients/patients require an inpatient withdrawal (for people with high severity alcohol dependence with a history of seizures or delirium).
  • The DASSA Withdrawal Services are located at Glenside. To arrange an admission ask the patient/client to contact the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1300 13 13 40.
  • Send referral information (including the patient/client’s contact details).

Fax: (08) 7087 1750 (follow-up with phone call if you feel it is needed (08) 7087 1700)
Email: Health.DASSAWithdrawalServicesAdministration@sa.gov.au
For more information visit the DASSA Referral information factsheet (PDF 85KB).

If the situation is unclear then either:

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 able to be arranged 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

DASSA is able to provide a range of services for patients or clients referred by general practitioners, specialists and other service providers. DASSA provides ongoing care for patients and clients needing multi-disciplinary medical, nursing and allied health interventions.
Clients/patients needing less intensive interventions will be referred to other services. (e.g. those who have already ceased their substance use, or reduced it to low levels who are primarily needing relapse prevention interventions).

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.

Clinical advice regarding ongoing care

Many people will have been well managed by their GP, specialist or other service, who may only require some additional specialist advice to continue with management.
Referring doctors can:

Therapeutic counselling

  • DASSA is able to provide counselling services for those people seeking to overcome drug dependence. Such counselling is usually given for people with complex presentations 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 depending on their needs. This will be discussed with the client and the referring service will be informed.

For patients/clients with opioid dependence DASSA can provide:

  • Review of people referred because of concerns related to their use of prescription opioids for chronic pain: A comprehensive initial assessment and a medical assessment will be undertaken followed by a letter sent to the referring GP with copies to other appropriate bodies, such as the Drugs of Dependence Unit. Assessment outcomes may range from advice regarding continued GP management to a recommendation that the patient is best treated with methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone due to the development of drug addiction.
  • Initiation of pharmacotherapy treatment: DASSA doctors are able to implement a range of pharmacotherapy treatments for dependence to a variety of drugs. Methadone and buprenorphine/naloxone are commonly used for long term opioid treatment.
    DASSA can commence and stabilise a patient/client on Suboxone and transfer them back to their GP for ongoing care if requested.
  • A take-over of existing treatment authority: DASSA metropolitan outpatient clinics are able to take over the authority for treatment for those people who become non-compliant or de-stabilised whilst under GP care. This may be a temporary or permanent arrangement depending on the wishes of the GP and the outcome from specialist treatment.

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 and provide advice back to the referring GP or specialist regarding their continuing them.

Modafinil can be used to assist with methamphetamine withdrawal by DASSA services as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Referral back to GP treatment when stabilised

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