Health Care Tips on Release

Drug and Alcohol Services


Things to do before your release

  • Six to eight weeks prior to release is a good time to ask about a referral to the Connections Program.
  • Four to five weeks prior to release, let a nurse know you want take home Naloxone on release.
  • Two to three weeks prior to release, see your SAPO to sort out your OPAL card, a Centrelink assessment and clothes, if you need them.
  • Apply for your birth certificate if you don’t have one. If you are eligible, the Aboriginal Strategy Policy Unit (ASPU) can sort this out.
  • If you are on an OAT Program, pick up an Unexpected Release Card from a drug and alcohol nurse, just in case you get out earlier than expected.
  • If you are on an OAT Program, remember your Release Summary and Transfer of Care Forms for the details of your community dosing clinic.

Your tolerance for alcohol or other drugs is likely to be lower than when you entered custody, this can increase your risk of overdosing.

Think about ways to say no if you’re offered drugs or alcohol. If you do use, remember that some behaviours are risky. Risks that can lead to overdose:

  • Using drugs when you’re alone mixing drugs (especially heroin or other opioids with alcohol or benzodiazepines/pills)
  • Injecting drugs (versus smoking)
  • Using heroin, methadone or other opioids after not using them for a long time
  • Using drugs without testing their strength
  • Using on top of your prescribed medications.

Stop by the clinic for your meds, Release Summary and Transfer of Care Forms.

This will make it much easier to access health services in the community. You can ask a nurse to train you on how to use Naloxone spray. Pick up your take home Naloxone if you had the training – it may save a life if you see a mate or family member overdose.

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Things to do on release

  • If you’re on the Connections Program, contact your Connections Transitions Coordinator as soon as you are released. 
  • Hold onto your release papers as they can’t be reissued and lots of services use them as an ID, such as banks, OST clinics and housing. 
  • If you need help, call ADIS (Alcohol and Drug Information Service) National Helpline on 1800 250 015. They offer 24 hour/7 days a week free alcohol and drug support. They can also help you with contact details for Methadone/ Buprenorphine Clinics or help with a referral. The service is anonymous and confidential.
  • Remember to take it easy on release. Don’t expect everything to get sorted in the first week.
  • Pace yourself - it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Ask for help when you need it.

If you are on an OAT / Methadone Program and Unexpectedly Released

  • If you are released unexpectedly from a public correctional centre, call (02) 9700 2101 (Monday to Friday 8am – 4pm).
  • On weekends and public holidays, go to the clinic you were at before you came to custody, or the nearest dosing clinic and tell them you have been released from goal.
  • If your clinic is closed call the Opioid Treatment Line on 1800 642 428.
  • If you are released unexpectedly from a private goal, contact the goal directly.
  • If you are on an OST Program, check the information on the Unexpected Release Card about Driving and Operating Machinery while on OST medication.