Treatment approaches

Different treatment approaches are required according to the pattern of use of each individual user. Treatment suited to occasional or experimental users may not be appropriate for chronic users.       

Experimental or occasional use

Treatment should be targeted, focused and relatively short-term, including information/education about the effects and harms of volatile substance use (VSU), including harm reduction information. Opportunities for brief interventions should be taken and diversionary activities should be offered in conjunction. Treatment should address short-term problems of intoxication, overdose, binge use, and impulsive or antisocial behaviours.

Social or regular use

Treatment may include brief interventions, counselling, motivational work, harm reduction information, use of positive peer influence and provision of alternative activities.

Chronic, heavy or dependent use 

Treatment should generally be longer-term and may include interagency case management, outpatient or residential treatment, medical investigation and management, rehabilitation including skill development and building emotional and social development, and relapse management.

For more information, see the Treatment guidelines page of this website.