Mapping alcohol and other drug patient journeys


To reduce Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) harms through a detailed understanding of patient pathways into and through AOD treatment. From this work, we aim to identify opportunities for connecting and retaining patients in the AOD treatment system.

Did you know?

Each year, AOD are involved in more than 137,000 hospital admissions and 28 per cent of emergency department injuries. Even though preventable, this costs the economy $23.5 billion.

About the research

This research aims to drive practice change across hospitals and AOD treatment services by identifying when and where people can be linked to AOD treatment sooner.  Findings from previous studies illustrate that drug and alcohol related problems contribute significantly to hospital admissions and emergency department presentations,  but that patients may not be connected to care for their AOD problems despite their contact with the health system.

The project was co-designed through collaboration with Self Help Addiction Resource Centre, (SHARC, a consumer advocacy organisation) Peninsula Health and Frankston Mornington Peninsula Primary Care Partnership. It is using the geographically contained Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Region to combine big data from the NCHA with qualitative methodologies, and importantly, has consumers as partners in conducting the research.  We will focus on key priority populations such as older adults and women, who may have unique needs to support their engagement in treatment.

By bringing together multiple types of data, the research hopes to understand where people who experience drug and alcohol harms come in contact with healthcare systems and how they could be connected with evidence-based AOD treatment earlier.

Findings will inform development, implementation and evaluation of interventions that strengthen pathways between hospital and AOD treatment services to improve engagement and retention in AOD treatment. By better supporting patients to navigate their treatment journeys, AOD harm for individuals could be prevented, and related costs for the healthcare system reduced.


Associate Professor Suzanne Nielsen provides an overview of
"Mapping alcohol and other drug patient journeys".

Project team

  • Associate Professor Suzanne Nielsen (Monash University) - Research Lead
  • Associate Professor Nielsen is the Deputy Director of The Monash Addiction Research Centre (MARC). She has published over 145 scientific publications, given over 180 national and international conference presentations and has informed legislative change in Australia to reduce pharmaceutical drug harm.

  • Dr Tina Lam (Monash University)
  • Kirsty Morgan (Peninsula Health)
  • Dr Michael Savic (Monash University)
  • Heather Pickard (Self Help Addiction Resource Centre)
  • Associate Professor Lisa Kuhn (Monash University)
  • Associate Professor Nadine Andrew (Monash University)
  • Rob White (Peninsula Health)
  • Kate Bendall (Peninsula Health)
  • Greer Watkins (Peninsula Health)