Contraception & substance use

If you don’t want to get pregnant, you need to use contraception (birth control). Sometimes drugs or alcohol can affect your ability to make decisions about birth control.

Contraception will help protect you from getting pregnant

Contraception is also called birth control or family planning.

  • There are a number of different types of contraception available.
  • There are some types of contraception that last 3 to 10 years. These are called Fit and Forget contraception or LARCs (Long Acting Reversible Contraception). In most cases Fit and Forget contraception can be fitted at a clinic or by your GP.
  • Some organisations can give you contraception cheaply or even for free.

Fit and Forget

There are two kinds of Fit and Forget contraception that you can use:

It’s very easy for a health professional to remove Fit and Forget contraception if you don’t like it or you are ready to get pregnant. 

All contraception has possible side effects in a small number of users, so talk to your doctor about the contraception that will suit you best.

illustration of a contraceptive implant
IUD - what it looks like and how big it is

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Regular condom use is the only way to protect against HIV/AIDS and other STIs.

Fit and Forget contraception will NOT protect you from STIs.

What if my partner doesn’t want to use birth control?

  • Ask your partner how he would feel if you became pregnant.
  • You have the right to choose the contraception that is best for you. There are methods of contraception that do not have to involve your partner.

What if I want to have a baby?

Did you know?

  • You can get pregnant even if your periods are irregular or you don’t have periods at all. 
  • If you take methadone or buprenorphine, or you use heroin, your periods may be irregular. 
  • You can safely get pregnant and have a baby if you are on methadone or buprenorphine.

Where to get more information 

  • Your local doctor (GP) 
  • Women’s Welcome Centre (Victoria only)
    Tel: (03) 8345 3037 or 1800 442 007 (rural callers)
  • Download our fact sheets on long acting reversible contraception (also available in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, Urdu & Vietnamese)

This information was developed with the assistance of Turning Point


The Women’s does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. The Women’s provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.