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HomeNewsACACIA Launches for Northern Sydney Local Health District

ACACIA Launches for Northern Sydney Local Health District

ACACIA, the Alcohol and Other Drug Consultation, Assessment, Care and Intervention for Adolescents Service, has officially opened its doors to deliver a new youth drug and alcohol community treatment service. ACACIA will provide support for adolescents dealing with substance-use-related challenges. Servicing the entire district, the ACACIA team will be based at Royal North Shore Hospital and Brookvale Community Health Centres.

ACACIA is a multidisciplinary service that accepts referrals from clinicians for adolescents under 18 in Northern Sydney Local Health District with moderate to severe issues related to problematic substance use. ACACIA’s inception stems from the Specialist Addiction Service for Adolescents (SASA), which began as a part-time staff specialist consultation service and expanded to include a registrar. Recognising SASA’s success, the NSW Ministry of Health granted a significant $1 million in funding, leading to ACACIA’s evolution. Now, the service boasts a multidisciplinary team, case management capacity, and a subspecialist child and adolescent and/or addiction psychiatry advanced training registrar position.

“Part of the success of the SASA and now ACACIA models has been our collaborative approach to care with the local Child Youth Mental Health Service teams and local NGO’s. Particularly successful has been our partnership with the Sydney Drug Education and Counselling Centre (SDECC), an NGO of youth drug and alcohol counsellors, to whom we have provided adolescent addiction psychiatry input for direct client consults and to their case review meetings.” Said Dr David Gordon, Medical Lead, ACACIA.

In its early stages, ACACIA has already made a considerable impact, currently managing a case-load of 27 patients. This includes vulnerable young individuals with complex issues who might have otherwise fallen through service gaps. The team, led by job-sharing staff specialists, currently comprises a full-time registrar and two full-time senior social workers, collectively dedicating their expertise to address adolescent substance-use-related challenges.

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