Health Care Tips on Release


Before being released from a correctional centre, you need to collect your health information

  • Medications and treatment summary
  • Referral letters
  • Contacts for community health services

You will need to give your discharge summary, and any referral letters, to your health care provider in the community to continue medications and treatment, including opioid treatment and Hep C treatment.

Call the Network if you are released direct from court or a correctional centre without health information. call 1800 CALLJH (1800 225 554) for free between 8am - 4pm, Monday to Friday.

Justice health staff will help you:

  • Get a summary of your current medications and treatment
  • Book a doctor or other health specialist
  • Book your nearest Aboriginal Medical Service Link into health care and other services in the community


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 the 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 will 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 the 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 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. Pick up your take home Naloxone if you had the education – it may save a life if you see a mate or family member overdose.

Things to do on your release

  • If you have a phone, set up your MyGov account if you can. It helps you access services without having to stand in a queue so much.
  • If you’re on the Connections Program, contact your worker sooner than later.
  • Hold onto your release papers as they can’t be reissued and lots of services use them as an ID. This includes banks, OAT 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 day free alcohol and drug support and information on drug and alcohol services. They can also help you with contact details for Methadone/Buprenorphine Clinics or help with 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 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 OAT Program, check the information on the Unexpected Release Card about Driving and Operating Machinery while on OAT medication.

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