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Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Service

The Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Service (ADAWS) based in South Brisbane offers three main programs:

ADAWS aims to support young people to achieve some of their goals around their drug and alcohol use, such as having a break from using, cutting back how much you use, how often you are using, or quitting. The ADAWS programs can help you achieve some of your goals by supporting you to make positive changes. Some of the ways we help young people is through individualised support, brief interventions, relapse prevention planning and alternative drug-free activities. The service also aims to reduce harm associated with drug use by utilising harm reduction strategies that take into account personal goals and choices.


Telephone ADAWS on 07 3163 8400 and ask to speak with the Intake Officer. You can talk to them about one of the ADAWS programs, such as Area 40, the residential or Outreach, and they will ask a few questions, get some contact details and then make an appointment time that suits you for an assessment.

Information for families and referrers

Referrals to ADAWS can be made by support workers from any agency, parents, support people or young people can self-refer. Engagement with the ADAWS service is on a voluntary basis.

There is a family counsellor on the ADAWS team who is available to provide support to families and significant people while young people are accessing the ADAWS programs.  Young people can access support with mental health concerns as well as access to primary healthcare in the health clinic.

The ADAWS Team

As well as youth workers, there is a Team Leader who manages ADAWS, nurses, doctors, residential support workers, a residential coordinator, a family counsellor, a Statewide Intake Officer and administration officer.   There is an Outreach team and staff who coordinate Area 40 and the vocational programs.

ADAWS needs to be a place where everyone can feel safe and has a chance to get something out of their stay.  Everyone who comes to ADAWS has rights and responsibilities.  The residential program is totally non-smoking however we will provide a range of nicotine replacement therapies to help manage cigarette cravings.

Residential Program

The Residential Program is for young people who live in Queensland and would like to make some positive changes to their substance use.  The residential program is for young people aged between their 13th and 19th birthday.

Program Overview

  • An 11 day live-in program for young people experiencing problems related to their substance use.
  • A voluntary program, young people make their own decision to come and stay.
  • Offers intensive support to young people who want to detox or withdraw and are thinking about making changes or stopping their substance use.
  • Up to 5 young people at a time, living in a home like setting.  It’s a safe, youth friendly place not like a hospital, there’s a backyard, a garden and everyone has their own bedroom.
  • A shared kitchen and lounge space. Bathrooms and bedrooms are on one level. Downstairs is a recreational space with a pool table, ping pong and lots of art supplies.
  • Staff are around 24/7 and each person has their own key youth worker.  Every day has group activities as part of a regular structured time.  There are also opportunities for massage and acupuncture and some recreational activities.  
  • In-house activities like painting, jewellery making, playing pool and ping pong.

Area 40

The ‘Area 40’ space hosts a day program that operates in conjunction with the Residential program and Outreach service. Area 40 was developed to provide alternative activities to substance use, provide an opportunity for young people to learn new skills and spend time with other young people who have goals to make positive changes and to remain engaged with ADAWS.

Area 40 includes a drop in service which operates three afternoons per week, a weekly art and music project known as ‘Artspace’, plus a vocational training program that provides certificate courses in industries such as Hospitality and the Creative Industries.

In the Area 40 space there are a number of facilities for young people such as a washing machine, showers, a music recording studio, a kitchen, computers and art supplies. Young people can also participate in therapeutic services such as alcohol and other drug brief intervention, or health promotion programs such as the Smokerz’ Clinic (smoking cessation clinic).

 ‘Tha Drop Inn’ Program

At ‘Tha Drop Inn’ program you can have some food, do washing or have a shower. There is an abundance of art supplies and materials. You can use the music recording studio, catch up with workers, play pool and just hang out.

‘Tha Drop Inn’ is on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons from 12.30 pm to 4 pm.


The programs can be accessed by young people aged 12 to 25 who identify as having some concerns around substance use and would like to access support and an alternative activity.


Outreach offers young people the chance to access drug and alcohol related help in the community.

We will meet you where you’re at. That means home visits or at the local shops or at the park or somewhere after school or work.  We’re pretty flexible.

We’ll work with anyone aged between 12 and 25 who live in the Brisbane region and who are motivated to make changes to their drug and alcohol use.

We work from a harm minimisation framework which means we don’t expect you to stop using all substances but we help by reducing the negative effects and risks associated with what you’re using.

Of course if you want to stop all together we can help with that too.

Outreach Overview

We offer drug and alcohol education and case management. Case management means we provide assessments and then treatment including drug and alcohol related counselling and relapse prevention. We are really good at helping with any drug and alcohol, mental health and primary health issues you may have. We can also assist with issues related to Centrelink, housing, school, work or the law.

We’ll hook you up with other services that might be able to help you with other parts of your life.

We work closely with other parts of the ADAWS program like the residential program and Area 40. We can assist you in accessing these if you are interested.

You will be assigned your own Outreach worker who will meet up with you once a week (sometimes more, sometimes less – it depends where you are at) to develop your own personal treatment plan and provide you with support in achieving your goals.

Involvement in the day program ‘Area 40’ can assist young people to connect with treatments services and support such as the eleven day residential program and the Outreach team and the program also facilitates pre and post detox support.