AOD support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – VAHS


July 2017 - June 2023

Funding Amount:

Approximately $150,000 per year



Melbourne Macedon Ranges Yarra Moonee Valley Darebin Maribyrnong Hobsons Bay Wyndham Brimbank Moorabool Melton Hume Merri-bek


Since 2017, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) has commissioned the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) to provide an alcohol and other drug (AOD) support program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This activity provides culturally appropriate AOD treatment for Aboriginal people affected by substance misuse and dependence who require treatment and support. Care teams work to improve clients’ wellbeing through AOD counselling and harm minimisation practices.

To boost accessibility, clients can refer themselves, or be referred by a GP, health professional or other agency.

The program provides:

  • assessment, treatment and monitoring
  • brief interventions
  • counselling
  • pre- and post-rehabilitation support
  • relapse prevention
  • harm minimisation
  • outreach
  • education
  • withdrawal management
  • group work
  • connection to other services and social supports, such as housing or justice.

VAHS collaborates with other Aboriginal community services and mainstream services such as St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Austin Health, Northern Hospital and the Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS), to ensure clients have their complex needs met in a holistic and culturally safe manner.



This program provides accessible and culturally safe AOD treatment services for Aboriginal people seeking support with substance misuse and dependence.

Other intended outcomes include:

  • providing a culturally safe, person-centred AOD program
  • connecting clients to required services within and outside VAHS
  • reducing misuse of substances
  • reducing use of harmful substances

VAHS is a trusted provider who submits narrative and data reports for evaluation, and engages in quality improvement activities to ensure the program’s continued success.

Services involved