$2million to tackle region’s ‘scourge’

The NSW government will invest $7 million into ice treatment services. Picture: SHANNON MORRISIllawarra and Shoalhaven residents battling ice addiction will have better access to treatment thanks to a $2 million boost to services over four years.

The funds are part of a $7 million investment by the NSW government into new stimulant treatment services, as well as the expansion of existing services.

The region received the lion’s share of the funding – with a Mount Druitt-based service receiving $1.6 million; services on the Mid North Coast, northern NSW and at St Vincent’s Hospital getting $1.2 million apiece and $400,000 directed to a Newcastle-based program.

The Illawarra services will be based in Wollongong, with outreach services to the Shoalhaven, and will provide specialised treatment and support for those using “amphetamine-type stimulants” such as ice.

Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District drug and alcohol service director David Reid said it would run as an outpatient service, bringing together the expertise of counsellors, nurses, doctors and health educators.

The service would be based with the existing drug and alcohol services at Burelli Street in Wollongong, with locations for an outreach service at Shoalhaven now being sought.

Young people aged 16 to 25 would be prioritised under the new program, which would build on partnerships with organisations such as headspace.

“The service will deliver a range of interventions, including counselling, medication-assisted management and referral to other programs as required, including residential rehabilitation,” Mr Reid said.

“The local [program] will enhance existing services and focus on strengthening partnerships with existing mental health and sexual health services, given a large number of methamphetamine users also have other health issues.”

Assistant Minister for Health Pru Goward announced the initial breakdown of funding – which will include funding for non-government services – on Sunday.

Ms Goward said over the past six years there had been a sevenfold increase in emergency department presentations where the use of methamphetamines, including ice, was a factor.

“Regional and remote communities are telling me they need more support to tackle the scourge,” she said.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward welcomed the funding, for which he had been lobbying for some time due to the high demand for additional services in the region.

“There’s no denying the impacts of ice on our part of the world have been felt very heavily,” he said.

“I’ve never seen a drug do the damage that ice is doing to a community … that’s why it’s so important to help people get clean before they are in the grip of addiction.”

Anyone concerned about how ice is affecting them or a loved one is encouraged to talk to a GP, call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 1800 422 599 or visit yourroom苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛.

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