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Concerned about your drug and alcohol use

People use drugs and alcohol for many reasons, including:

  • For enjoyment
  • To relax
  • To help to socialise with others
  • For creativity, or
  • To treat or avoid underlying issues, such as physical or psychological pain or distress.

Whilst they can be (or can seem) life-enhancing, some people following prolonged or regular periods of intense use, can develop problems with their use. Over time, some people may develop a tolerance to a particular drug, meaning more of the same substance is required to achieve the desired effect. Dependence is when withdrawal symptoms are experienced, when not used. A person might also prioritise the acquisition and use of that drug over other things in their life. See below for a list of available supports, as well as information about harm reduction.

Family and carers

If you are a family member or a friend of a person who wants to change or quit using alcohol and other drugs, there is support available. One important thing to realise is that the person using drugs or alcohol needs to make their own decision to change or quit.

Harm Minimisation / Harm Reduction

Harm reduction focuses on positive change, without judgement, and is grounded in human rights. There is no universally accepted definition of harm reduction, but there are some resources available to learn from:

There are lots of services that can help both the person using drugs and their loved ones, to either reduce harm, manage their alcohol or drug use better, or to stop use. These include:

  • Alcohol and drug services: Better Health Channel
    If you or someone you know is affected by alcohol or drugs there are services available to help
  • Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) Drug Facts
  • Better Health Channel
    Victoria’s health system offers a vast range of services and support to Victorians across the state.
  • Beyond Blue
    Provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.
  • Cracks in the Ice
    Evidence and information about crystal methamphetamine for the Australian community
  • DanceWize
    Peer support and event care service; substance information and alerts; information for event organisers (a program of Harm Reduction Victoria)
  • DirectLine
    Confidential alcohol & drug counselling and referral in Victoria for people of all ages and backgrounds
  • Family Drug Help
    Provides a specialist service to support family members and friends who are concerned about a loved one’s alcohol and other drug use
  • Legal Aid
    Information about drug possession, cultivation and use; and information about court proceedings and possible supports available
  • Pharmacotherapy Advocacy Medication & Support Service (PAMS): Methadone, Suboxone and Long Acting Bupeprenorphine – ph. 1800 443 844
  • P.A.R.T.Y at the Alfred (Online Program)
    A trauma prevention and health promotion initiative that seeks to build resilience in young people through the lived experience of a major trauma service.
  • Pill Testing Australia
    Conduct laboratory grade, front-of-house pill testing integrated with health professional consultations.
  • Quit
    Quit is a program of Cancer Council Victoria, with a vision for a tobacco-free Victoria
  • Specialist Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Support Services
    A list of mental health drug and alcohol supports.
  • Turning Point
    Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre provides leadership to the alcohol and drug field

Personal, social and environmental factors may alter an individual’s experience or perception of this information. A person’s culture, religion, spirituality or ancestral spirituality can influence how this information relates to your health & wellbeing, as well as your community.

Last Modified: Tuesday, 21 February 2023