State Government called upon to take charge of drug and alcohol support services

Tuesday February 19, 2019

Published by The Border Watch

By Raquel Mustillo


MOUNT Gambier MP Troy Bell has called on the State Government to take action on community calls for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility for the region. 

Mr Bell’s comments come as a long-running petition with 3771 signatures was tabled in the House of Assembly on Wednesday. 

Addressing State Parliament this week, the Independent MP said the number of names on the petition was indicative of “how strongly this issue resonates across the Limestone Coast region”. 

“The lack of adequate drug and alcohol addiction facilities and services has been an issue for this region for years and years, long before I became an MP,” he said. 

“Addiction does not just impact the individual - it impacts families, friends, workplaces, the whole community.” 

Mr Bell said he had looked into several service models and programs being delivered in regional towns and had been in contact with the team behind the MATRIX program currently being trialled in the Riverland. 

“This is an intensive outpatient program, which includes supported detoxification, education and opportunities for families and loved ones to be involved in the recovery process,” he said. 

“Dr Quentin Black and the PsychMed team work with the community to develop a model of treatment that suits the individual and the region in which they live. 

“Then you have got facilities such as Warrnambool’s Western Region Drug and Alcohol Centre (WRAD) which is a not-for-profit organisation that operates within a community-based management model, which makes their services highly relevant to their region. 

“WRAD staff work collaboratively with other health-related professionals and organisations and provide a diverse range of services to meet the multiple needs of people with substance misuse problems.” 

Mr Bell praised the ongoing work of the Substance Misuse Limestone Coast group, including Sophie Bourchier, Dr Judy Nagy, Sue Mutton and Sergeant Andy Stott. 

He said the group were providing frontline training, lobbying for funding and most importantly, keeping the issue on the public agenda. 

Mr Bell said any facility or services earmarked for the region should be equipped to handle a wide range of needs both now and into the future. 

“Who can predict what will be the drug of choice in five years time?” 

he said. 

“Ice gets a lot of attention and deservedly so, but national statistics indicate that opiate use, including heroin and prescription drugs such as Oxycontin are on the rise,” he said. 

“Alcohol is and always has been, a major issue for Australians of all ages so we need a facility that can handle all these needs now, plus additional needs into the future.” 

Mr Bell said there was ‘no onesize-fits-all approach’ to addressing substance misuse. 

“Every region’s needs are different,” he said. 

“The programs and models are out there - now we need the financial backing and support of this State Government. 

“This is an issue that transcends politics - we must all work together for solutions, for the good of the community.”