TAKING ON DRUG AND ALCOHOL USE
Advocacy group receives funding to tackle the growing problem of substance abuse in North Burnett communities:
COMMUNITY advocacy group Stepping Black is taking action to combat the problem of drug and alcohol abuse in the North Burnett.
As part of the newly funded Strong Aboriginal Families in Eidsvold (SAFE) program, a drug action team from Stepping Black held a workshop in Eidsvold on Friday, focused on working with communities to address the issue.
SAFE is a program aimed at developing an empowered family environment that has a positive influence on the First Nations people of Eidsvold to create a healthy, safe and harmonious community, according to a Stepping Black spokesperson.
The group received local drug action team funding and will work in partnership with Bridges Health, Eidsvold State School and Community Care to deliver the program in the North Burnett.
Zona Hussey-Smith, spokesperson for Stepping Black said the project would look at ways to work with communities on prevention programs.
“The funding has been received, it comes under the Australian drug foundation and what they’re hoping to do is set up local drug action teams around Australia whereby communities can look at leading solutions to some of the issues a community is facing,” Mrs Hussey-Smith said.
“As a small Aboriginal community they tend to not get funding or attention and what I want to do is support them to stand strong and build up their own character, their culture their community.”
Mrs Hussey-Smith said alcohol was still the biggest problem facing Australia.
“Drugs come in all forms, there’s alcohol, prescription drugs and illegal drugs and alcohol is by far the biggest problem in Australia,” she said.
A spokesperson for Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service said drugs had a detrimental effect on the community and could be difficult to manage.
“The ramifications of drug use in small communities such as those in the North Burnett can be destructive due to concentrations of people who are marginalised and highly vulnerable,” the spokesperson said.
“The causes behind drug use can be complicated and inter-generational.
“There are push and pull factors in relation to drug use in these communities, for example access to
services can be more difficult in these communities, but within these communities there can be marginalised people who choose to deliberately live there because of that lack of service.”
The spokesperson said
prescription opiates were the number one concern for the North Burnett.
“The experience of our Wide Bay Alcohol and Other Drug Service team has shown that in the North Burnett the abuse of prescriptive opiates in
combination with other drugs is of particular concern,” they said.
The spokesperson said drug users often used more than one substance, making the problem challenging to address.
“It is important to
remember that a large proportion of people who choose to use illicit substances are multiple drug users,” the spokesperson said.
■ Visit steppingblack .com.au for more information.
NEW APPROACH: Drug and alcohol addiction is a problem in the North Burnett with services available to help.