We need alcohol and other drug detox in the Far West
Back in December 2020, I met with the Chair of the Far West Community Advisory Council and a representative from the Royal Flying Doctor Service regarding the need for an accommodation facility to treat addictions in the Far West. As a former Drug and Alcohol Counsellor the stories of health system constraints and the barriers to behaviour change for people with addictions, were very familiar to me.
In fact, back in 2019, I raised this very issue in a Private Members Statement. The stark facts are, that there are only 26 residential rehabilitation beds for the electorate of Barwon – over 79,000 people live here. If you live in Broken Hill, the largest community, the closest one is over 300kms away, and has a waitlist. There are only 3 Drug and Alcohol Counsellors for the Far West. The stats tell us that amphetamine use and possession has increased, drug related crimes, presentations to emergency departments and call outs for drug related incidents are all increasing. I asked the Government to take action.
This week the Western NSW Primary Health Network, working along with the Far West Community Advisory Council agreed to lead the development of an unsolicited funding proposal, to secure Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Detoxification and Rehabilitation services in the Broken Hill Local Government Area.
They’re seeking participants in a rapid community driven design process involving service mapping, participation in a series of clinician and community meetings to clarify AOD need, potential interventions and stakeholder collaborations for AOD care. My team and I will continue to be at the table, supporting the development of a business case so that the community of Broken Hill can lobby government for funding to build a residential Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation and Detoxification facility.
This is a community calling for help, taking action, wanting a facility. The evidence shows residential rehabilitation programs work. I’ll back them all the way. The Government need to allocate funds so that people can break the cycle of addiction and live a healthy life.