Home Based Withdrawal (HBW) or ‘outpatient withdrawal’ was originally established to meet the needs of young people who had a safe and stable home environment to withdraw in and who did not need or wish to attend a residential detox.

The role has expanded greatly since then and is now more akin to Youth AOD outreach except the specific interventions are those offered by a nurse. As well as support to manage drug withdrawal and coordinate care with GPs and other medical professionals, Home Based Withdrawal Nurses often also offer herbal supplements, nutritional advice and supportive counselling. Importantly nurses also help young people tackle other health related issues in their life.

This can be a great option for young people who experience chronic illness, complex medication regimes, are on pharmacotherapy, experience medical complications from injecting or have neglected health (such as dental problems) that they would like to address.

Home based withdrawal nurses also work with young women who are pregnant and using substances.

As well as support for drug withdrawal HBW nurses coordinate care with GPs and other medical professionals.

Young people who wish to reduce their substance use and have a safe, stable home environment to attempt this in can also benefit from visits from home based withdrawal nurses.

It is important to note that there are some instances where it is risky to rapidly reduce substance use in the community and residential detox is recommended. Home based withdrawal nurses work closely with residential withdrawal units to make this possible.