Call to keep Fresh Start go­ing

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Quick Views - By LISA THOMAS

SUP­PORT­ERS of Su­bi­aco’s Fresh Start drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre have set up an online pe­ti­tion to keep its doors open.

The pe­ti­tion comes af­ter Fresh Start chief ex­ec­u­tive Jeff Claughton re­vealed last month that the cen­tre was at risk of clos­ing be­cause of a cut in State Gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

Cather­ine Bar­row­man set up the pe­ti­tion af­ter hear­ing the news and said the cen­tre had helped many peo­ple suf­fer­ing with drug ad­dic­tion.

“We are so lucky here in Perth to have this ser­vice on our doorstep, it gives peo­ple hope and a chance to turn their lives around,” she said.

“The Gov­ern­ment should be sup­port­ing this ser­vice with what it needs in or­der to op­er­ate and do what they do best.”

She said she had ex­pe­ri­enced first-hand the work Fresh Start were do­ing, with her hus­band cur­rently un­der­go­ing treat­ment for al­co­hol ad­dic­tion in its Northam fa­cil­ity.

She said her hus­band had been im­planted with the nal­trex­one drug five weeks ago to help him re­cover from his ill­ness.

“I found Fresh Start out of des­per­ate times and knew it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore this hor­ri­ble ill­ness killed my hus­band,” she said.

“Fresh Start wel­comed us with kind­ness and of­fered my hus­band a life­line. Their ser­vices and sup­port were amaz­ing from day one and brought hope and pos­i­tiv­ity into our lives again.”

Mr Claughton said the num­ber of peo­ple seek­ing help for metham­phetamine ad­dic­tion had risen by 23 per cent and would only con­tinue to rise.

A re­duc­tion in $1 mil­lion worth of Gov­ern­ment fund­ing, as well as claims of bro­ken fund­ing prom­ises by Cor­rec­tive Ser­vices Min­is­ter Joe Fran­cis, had only put ex­tra pres­sure on the not-for-profit cen­tre.

For­mer Fresh Start client Reanna San­ders said the ser­vice was an “ab­so­lute bless­ing”.

“I had been an opi­ate drug user from age 17 to 30, with two beau­ti­ful chil­dren and was on the verge of los­ing them,” she said.

“That’s when I went to Fresh Start and met Dr Ge­orge for the first time; he con­tin­ued to help me for another five years and I am now in my sev­enth year, and have the most beau­ti­ful life and happy, healthy and smart girls.”

She said if not for Fresh Start she would not be here to­day.

“It’s so crit­i­cally im­por­tant for Fresh Start to get the fund­ing they need to give another per­son and their chil­dren the chance of life like I did,” she said.

“Peo­ple like my­self, who have suc­ceeded and can say I now live, I don’t just exist. Keep the doors open and give more chances and more hope.”

Mrs Bar­row­man hoped the State Gov­ern­ment would look at the suc­cess stories com­ing out of Fresh Start.

“The State Gov­ern­ment needs to open their eyes and go and see what an amaz­ing ser­vice Fresh Stat is, and one which our com­mu­nity needs,” she said. “You only need to be out­side early in the morn­ing to see the lines of peo­ple wait­ing out­side for the doors to open to get the help they and their fam­i­lies need.”

To sign the pe­ti­tion to keep Fresh Start open visit Change.org.

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