Drug & Alcohol Recovery and Education Centre

"Turning Lives Around"

Q: What substances can I detox from?

A: Watershed offers a withdrawal program from a range of illicit substances including cannabis, amphetamines, heroin, cocaine and ecstacy. Watershed also offers withdrawal from small amounts of methadone, although methadone maintenance is not available. Watershed accepts low risk alcohol detox through the Orana program. Watershed does not offer withdrawal from benzodiazepines, although clients who have recently undertaken an alternate withdrawal program from these are able to undertake the 4 week residential treatment program.

Q: How does one withdraw from alcohol?

A: A person who is physically dependent on alcohol should seek medical advice before suddenly stopping drinking, particularly if they are a heavy drinker. As the body adjusts to functioning without alcohol, the person can experience side effects such as tremors, mental confusion, cramps or convulsions. A medically supervised detoxification service can assist in managing the symptoms experienced during withdrawal, which may take from one to two weeks.

Q: How long does the detox program go for?

A: The detoxification program at Watershed usually lasts from 5 to 14 days depending on the substance the client is withdrawing from.

Q: How do I get into the program?

A: Clients must firstly contact Watershed using the "Get Help Now" form on the website, or by personally calling the Watershed to undertake a phone assessment. All clients are assessed individually to determine the program’s suitability in meeting their needs. Some clients may be referred to a more suitable treatment option. Clients are then placed on a waiting list whilst any necessary reports (eg. medication proformas, psychological reports) are sought. After all necessary reports are obtained clients are offered the next available bed. Face to face assessments are sometimes necessary and clients would be informed if this needed to occur prior to admission.

Q: How long does it take to get into the program?

A: Waiting list times vary due to the availability of beds and the reciept of medical/psychological and other assessment reports. Waiting times vary for each cient, however, Watershed staff make every effort to minimise client waiting times.

Q: What are the costs involved?

A: 15-17 years of age – $189 per week. 18-21 years of age – $217 per week. 21 years+ – $252 per week. Note: This does not cover costs such as medication, phone calls, and other personal needs.

Q: Is the detox program medicated?

A: Watershed does accept residents that have pre-existing medication requirements. All medications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Can I change/cease my medication (not withdrawal medication) whilst in the program?

A: Usually the answer is No. It is preferable to see to your Doctor about changing any medications prior to admission.

Q: What kind of program is best for me?

A: A variety of options exist and you can choose the best one for you. A brief episode of withdrawal followed by counselling might be the best option for one person. Another may need longer withdrawal, a few months in residential rehabilitation, assistance with employment, training or education and accommodation support. Someone else may be best suited to supported accommodation, participation in a self help group and longer term family counselling.

Q: What personal items do I need to bring?

A: Clients need only to bring a medium size bag of clothing only. Other personal items such as soap, shampoo etc. is supplied. All food (including tea/coffee) is supplied. Clients will not be permitted to bring in their own food. Arrangements are made by staff for clients with special dietary considerations.

Q: Can I bring my mobile phone/Ipod/mp3 player or laptop?

A: No.

Q: Can I make phone calls?

A: Clients are allowed one personal phone call per week. An additional phone call is permitted for clients with dependent children under 18 years of age. Clients are permitted to make other phone calls with the consent of their caseworker to arrange aftercare options or to address other issues (e.g. legal). Family and friends are able to call and leave messages for clients but they cannot call and speak to them directly.

Q: Can I write/receive letters during my stay?

A: Yes. Clients are encouraged to write and receive letters from friends and family throughout the program. Watershed provides clients with stamps and envelopes.

Q: Can I leave the grounds whilst undertaking the program?

A: No. The program is strictly residential and clients are not permitted to leave the grounds without supervision under any circumstances.

Q: Can I get overnight or day leave?

A: No. Leave is not permitted

Q: Can I have visitors?

A: No family/friend visits are allowed during your stay at the Watershed, as we find that clients find it easier to focus on their recovery without visits. However, you may be allowed a visit from your caseworker/youth worker/aboriginal health worker/religious officer if it is therapeutically useful. This has to be negotiated with your caseworker.

Q: What is the length of time that I will be in treatment at Watershed?

A: Residents entering treatment at Watershed Drug & Alcohol Recovery & Education Centre can be admitted for periods between 5 days and 12 months. The detoxification program lasts between 5 and 14 days. The residential rehabilitation program lasts for 4 week and clients are then able to transition to the Carinya Halfway House supported accomodation facility for up to 6-9 months.


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Watershed acknowledges the traditional custodians of country and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past, present and future.

Watershed holds accreditation with the Australian Council on Health Care Standards (ACHS).

Formerly: Wollongong Crisis Centre

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