Alcohol and Other Drugs - Odyssey House NSW

19th May 2021

In this new monthly series we’ll be speaking to the provider of our Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) commissioned services in South Western Sydney. These services funded by SWSPHN are free for individuals accessing them. For more information or assistance, please contact Nick McGhie –

In this column we’ll be looking at Odyssey House NSW.


Name of the service provider

Odyssey House NSW

What service/s do you provide?

Odyssey House NSW is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1977 known for its Medical Withdrawal Unit, Residential Rehabilitation Programs, the Magistrates Early Referral into Treatment (MERIT) Program, Parent's and Children's Program and numeracy and literacy education.

Recently, Odyssey House expanded into community services and now offers alcohol and other drug counselling, mental health services and family and parent support programs in locations across Sydney.

Please provide a brief description of the service/s you provide

Odyssey House Community Services (OHCS) delivers a range of free alcohol and other drugs services within a holistic stepped care treatment model. The model includes aftercare support, psychosocial programs for individuals with co-occurring substance misuse and mental health disorders with access to individual care coordination and counselling. Programs are flexible, evidence-based, client centred, and aim to achieve positive client outcomes through an integrated approach.

In which LGAs are your services available?

South Western Sydney, Western Sydney, Central Eastern Sydney and Sydney North.

Who is eligible to access your service?

  • Current or historic alcohol and/or other drug dependencies
  • People residing in South Western Sydney, Western Sydney, Central Eastern Sydney and Sydney North
  • They must be aged 18 or older and affected by their own or a loved one's alcohol and/or other drug use

Does the service provide support for people who don't speak English as a first language?

Staff are bilingual in some languages. A translator or interpreter service offered if required.

Who can GPs contact for more information about your service?

Please call 1800 397 739 or email

How do GPs refer to your service?

Please call 1800 397 739 or email


If you are a GP, a clinician or another service provider, please download the REFERRAL FORM found on our website and then scan to

Clients must be aware of the referral and consent by signing the referral form before it is scanned.

Case studies

Please share an experience where a GP has referred a patient to your service

Why were they referred?

Client DF was referred by medical staff at the Whole Family Mental Health Team for assistance with her drinking. DF had a long history of alcohol abuse with associated jaundice and liver damage, and she was seeing a liver specialist. DF had some mental health issues and had also experienced domestic violence in her home in front of her children, and Family and Community Services (FaCS) was involved in protecting DF’s children from same.

How did you interact with the referring GP?

During DF’s engagement with OHCS, we liaised frequently with medical staff at the Whole Family Mental Health Team to seek additional information on DF’s situation and to advocate for DF’s mental health needs and the safety needs of the children. OHCS liaised with the Whole Family Mental Health Team regarding having a case conference with DF’s FaCS workers, in order to address DF’s most immediate needs.

What was the outcome for their patient/client?

DF’s partner ultimately went to prison and DF was scheduled in hospital to address her acute mental health issues. FaCS stepped in to assume care of the children, and OHCS backed out at this point as DF’s mental health needs and the safety of the children were deemed priority over DF’s drinking.

What was your experience like working with the GP?

The Whole Family Mental Health Team were keen to collaborate with OHCS about this family. They willingly shared pertinent information with OHCS and they communicated well with OHCS staff. This was helpful when it came to addressing DF’s acute needs and the needs of the children.

Did you receive any feedback from the GP or patient/client in regard to shared care?

DF gave written consent for OHCS to speak with her workers at FaCS and the Whole Family Mental Health Team. This enabled OHCS to easily exchange information with the relevant services, which was especially pertinent when DF’s mental health started to deteriorate and the risks to the children began to escalate.

Please share what you think the benefits of GP referrals to your service and the referring GP are?

The referral from the Whole Family Mental Health Team was crucial to DF’s care, as it enabled OHCS to flag acute concerns with FaCS about DF’s parenting capacity and worsening mental health. Without this referral, it might have taken much longer for DF to receive the acute mental health treatment she needed, and more concerningly, it might have taken much longer for DF’s children to be placed in a safer situation.

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