The Involuntary Drug and Alcohol Treatment (IDAT) Program provides short term care, with an involuntary supervised withdrawal component, to protect the health and safety of people with severe substance dependence who have experienced, or are at risk of, serious harm and whose decision making capacity is considered to be compromised due to their substance use.

The IDAT Program is a structured drug and alcohol treatment program that provides medically supervised withdrawal, rehabilitation and supportive interventions for patients with severe substance dependence.

The NSW Health Drug and Alcohol Treatment Act 2007 (the Act) provides the legislative basis for IDAT.  The Act "provides for the health and safety of persons with severe substance dependence through involuntary detention, care, treatment and stabilisation". 

The Act aims to ensure that involuntary treatment is only used when it will be in the best interests of the individual and when no other less restrictive means for treating them are appropriate. The Act also protects the rights of people while they are undergoing involuntary treatment.



A Dependency Certificate, which allows a person to be involuntarily admitted, may only be issued if the Accredited Medical Practitioner (AMP) at the Treatment Centre is satisfied the person meets the following criteria:
  • The person has a severe substance dependence, meaning they:
  • have a tolerance to a substance
  • show withdrawal symptoms when they stop or reduce levels of its use
  • do not have the capacity to make decisions about their substance use and
  • personal welfare primarily because of their dependence on the substance AND
  • The care, treatment or control of the person is necessary to protect the
  • person from serious harm, AND
  • The person is likely to benefit from treatment for his or her substance dependence but has refused treatment, AND
  • No other appropriate and less restrictive means for dealing with the person are reasonably available. 

Referrals will be accepted from all over the state as long as the person is 18 years or older.

In deciding whether a person requires involuntary care the AMP may also have regard to any serious harm that may occur to children in the care of the person, or other dependants.


Health workers, family members and other concerned parties, in consultation with a Medical Practitioner (MP), can identify a patient as potentially suitable for IDAT and seek to have a comprehensive assessment conducted for IDAT eligibility. On determining eligibility, the identified person must then be referred by a MP to an Accredited Medical Practitioner (AMP) for an assessment for a Dependency Certificate.

If you require additional information, please contact:
  • ADIS (Alcohol and Drug Information Service) at 02 9361 8000 or 1800 422 599 (outside Sydney); or
  • Your local Drug and Alcohol Centralised Intake Number.

Urgent cases

Contact your local Drug and Alcohol Centralised Intake Number.

Other information

An AMP can issue a dependency certificate detaining the person for treatment under the Act for up to 28 days in the first instance. There is an option to extend the Dependency Certificate for up to a total treatment period of three months, in extreme circumstances, where withdrawal, stabilisation and discharge planning may take longer.

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Royal North Shore Hospital,
Building 8, Herbert St,
St Leonards, NSW 2065

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Open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Office hours: 8.30am - 5pm

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If you are considering a referral, please contact:
  • ADIS (Alcohol and Drug Information Service) at 02 9361 8000 or 1800 422 599 (outside Sydney); or
  • Your local Drug and Alcohol Centralised Intake Number.

Contact numbers for the two state-wide IDAT programs are:

  • Herbert Street Clinic, Royal North Shore Hospital: 02 9463 2533
  • Lachlan IDAT Unit, Bloomfield Hospital. 02 6369 7700