Seek­ing wise coun­cils

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health - By CAITLIN TILLER

AN award-win­ning drug and al­co­hol re­searcher says the role of lo­cal gov­ern­ment in preven­tion and treat­ment of drug and al­co­hol-re­lated is­sues is un­der­es­ti­mated.

Na­tional Drug Re­search In­sti­tute (NDRI) di­rec­tor Steve All­sop said lo­cal gov­ern­ments needed to have more of a voice and be in­cluded in the is­sue.

“Lo­cal gov­ern­ments are im­pacted by de­ci­sions made at a State and fed­eral level but they are un­der­utilised re­sources,” Dr All­sop, of Menora, said.

“It’s about en­sur­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ments are in­volved in re­sponses to drug prob­lems, both preven­tion and ser­vice plan­ning.

“There are ex­cel­lent ex­am­ples of good prac­tice from around the coun­try in lo­cal gov­ern­ment around liquor li­cens­ing, street plan­ning, trans­port de­ci­sions, which can all re­duce harm.”

Dr All­sop, who works at the Shenton Park Curtin Univer­sity cam­pus, won the na­tional Se­nior Sci­en­tist Award from the Aus­tralasian Pro­fes­sional So­ci­ety on Al­co­hol and other Drugs (APSAD) for his out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the field over 35 years.

He said lo­cal gov­ern­ment played a role in the avail­abil­ity of al­co­hol and the clean-up and de­sign of the en­vi­ron­ment to lower the risk of al­co­hol and dru­gre­lated harm.

Af­ter be­gin­ning his work vol­un­teer­ing at a drug over­dose ser­vice in the UK at 17, Dr All­sop said his work gave him huge per­sonal sat­is­fac­tion.

“It mat­ters be­cause peo­ple af­fected by drug and al­co­hol use are of­ten dis­crim­i­nated against and marginalised,” he said.

“I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in pub­lic health and this is a huge pub­lic health is­sue.”

Dr All­sop also con­trib­uted to pol­icy de­vel­op­ment at the United Na­tions.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d446585

Pro­fes­sor Steve All­sop.

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