Wel­comed, ‘but not close enough’

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Wim­mera Drug Ac­tion Task­force lead­ers have wel­comed the ap­point­ment of a ser­vice provider for a new Grampians re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre but have stressed a need for a fa­cil­ity closer to home.

Win­dana Drug and Al­co­hol Re­cov­ery has won a con­tract to run the State Gov­ern­ment’s new Grampians al­co­hol and other drug res­i­den­tial re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre, which will be in Ballarat.

The new cen­tre will of­fer 20 re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion beds to pro­vide peo­ple with sup­port to help end their drug ad­dic­tion and re­build their lives.

Men­tal Health Min­is­ter Martin Fo­ley said the Grampians re­gion – which com­prises Ararat, Ballarat, Golden Plains, Hep­burn, Hind­marsh, Hor­sham, Moora­bool, North­ern Grampians, Pyre­nees, West Wim­mera and Yar­ri­ambi­ack mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties – was se­verely af­fected by al­co­hol and other drug use.

He said there were high lev­els of mis­use among young adults and ris­ing rates of drug-re­lated of­fences and am­bu­lance at­ten­dances, par­tic­u­larly in Ballarat and Hor­sham.

Mr Fo­ley said peo­ple seek­ing help in the Grampians re­gion cur­rently needed to travel to Bendigo or Mel­bourne for treat­ment.

“Peo­ple re­cover faster when they can ac­cess treat­ment in the com­mu­nity – that’s why this fa­cil­ity is so im­por­tant,” he said. “It will of­fer bet­ter tar­geted treat­ment and more op­tions for peo­ple suf­fer­ing se­ri­ous drug ad­dic­tion.”

Wim­mera Drug Ac­tion Task­force co-or­di­na­tor Sally Pymer said while she was pleased to see the Ballarat cen­tre a step closer, the re­gion’s res­i­dents would ben­e­fit from one in Hor­sham.

“The task­force sup­ports more re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion beds in the Grampians re­gion but a detox and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion

“The task­force sup­ports more re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion beds in the Grampians re­gion but a detox and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion fa­cil­ity closer to Hor­sham is also re­quired” – Sally Pymer

fa­cil­ity closer Hor­sham she said.

“For peo­ple liv­ing close to Hor­sham a two-hour drive will be re­quired to get to Ballarat for re­hab, which is lit­tle dif­fer­ent to the cur­rent travel time to Bendigo.”

The State Gov­ern­ment will also build new res­i­den­tial drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices in Gipp­s­land, Hume and Bar­won re­gions.

The cen­tres are part of the gov­ern­ment’s Ice Ac­tion Plan, which ad­dresses the harm­ful use of crys­tal metham­phetamine and other drugs across Vic­to­ria.

Mr Fo­ley said the gov­ern­ment had com­mit­ted fund­ing for 112 new res­i­den­tial re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion beds and is pro­vid­ing an ex­tra 500 Vic­to­ri­ans a year is also re­quired,” with ac­cess to new ther­a­peu­tic day re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices.

But Na­tion­als Mem­ber for Lowan Emma Kealy said the gov­ern­ment’s ‘prom­ises on drug treat­ment came to noth­ing’.

She said the gov­ern­ment an­nounced it had ‘com­mit­ted fund­ing’ for 112 new beds in Vic­to­ria.

“But what Premier Daniel An­drews won’t say is there’s yet to be one dol­lar of gov­ern­ment fund­ing al­lo­cated be­yond land pur­chase – not a cent has been an­nounced to build new cen­tres or em­ploy re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion sup­port staff,” she said.

“Daniel An­drews is full of blus­ter, but fails to fol­low up with ac­tion.

“Vic­to­ria’s drugs cri­sis is get­ting worse, not bet­ter.”

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