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Exploring the costs and effectiveness of the Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Network: a home-based alcohol and other drug withdrawal service


Wright, CM and Norman, R and Varhol, R and Davis, J and Wilson-Taylor, E and Dorigo, J and Robinson, S, Exploring the costs and effectiveness of the Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Network: a home-based alcohol and other drug withdrawal service, Australian Journal of Primary Health, 24, (5) pp. 385-390. ISSN 1448-7527 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 La Trobe University

DOI: doi:10.1071/PY17110


The Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Network (DAWN) is a home-based withdrawal service based in Perth, Western Australia. Literature on outcomes, costs and client attitudes towards this type of home-based detoxification in Australia is sparse. Therefore, this study assessed these factors for clients enrolled over a 5-year period (July 2011–June 2016). Client experience was explored through semi-structured interviews with 10 clients. Over the study period, 1800 clients (54% male, mean age 38 years) were assessed, and there were 2045 episodes of care. Although most first-episode clients (52%) listed alcohol as the primary drug of concern, the proportion listing methamphetamine increased from 4% in 2011–12 to 23% in 2015–16. In 94% (n = 639) of withdrawal detoxification episodes with completed surveys, clients used their‘drug of primary concern’most days or more often at baseline; this had reduced to 23% (n = 149) at the conclusion of detoxification. Five-year direct costs were A$4.8 million. Clients valued the person-centred holistic approach to care, including linking with other health providers. Barriers included low awareness of the program and difficulties finding an appropriate support person. Further exploration of cost-effectiveness would substantiate the apparently lower per client cost, assuming medical suitability for both programs, for home-based relative to inpatient withdrawal.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:alcoholism, community health services, home care services, street drugs, substance-related disorders, substance withdrawal syndrome
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health and community services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Wright, CM (Mr Cameron Wright)
ID Code:129708
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2018-12-14
Last Modified:2019-04-08

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