The Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service: A model of telephone-delivered addiction specialist support

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction and Aims: People with substance use problems frequently present to mainstream health services with a variety of health issues. However, many medical and allied health-care providers feel under-equipped to respond to this population. We describe the Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS), an established 24/7 telephone-delivered model of addiction specialist consultation, and examine recent call data to identify drug use issues for which health practitioners seek support. Design and Methods: Methods of DACAS service provision and call data collection are provided. A retrospective review of routinely collected call data between July 2013 and June 2018 was performed, extracting information on call and caller characteristics, and consultation details. Results: During 2013–2018, DACAS responded to 6565 calls, providing access to specialist alcohol and other drug support for more than 1200 practitioners across Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory annually. Higher rates of service use were found among practitioners located in regional and remote areas, relative to those in metropolitan areas. Opioid agonist treatment was the most common drug class for which practitioners sought consultation (39.5%), followed by other opioids (19.4%). Advice-seeking patterns differed according to caller profession, service setting and location. Discussion and Conclusions: DACAS is providing a multistate-level response to the challenges of accessing specialist addiction treatment, particularly for opioid agonist treatment and other opioid issues, with demonstrated uptake in regional and remote areas. This telephone-delivered service provides an opportunity to expand access to treatment for opioid use disorder and other substance use problems, particularly in areas with less equitable access to specialist addiction care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-245
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • alcohol and other drug
  • clinical advisory service
  • opioid use disorder treatment
  • professional support
  • telephone-delivered service

Cite this