Funds needed for drug rehabilitation long-haul

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A fully-funded drug rehabilitation centre is key to tackling ice addiction in Geelong, according to a policeman leading the local fight against the drug.

Senior Sergeant Tony Francis, who heads Geelong’s ice taskforce, said the city desperately needed the facility, particularly for women.

“A major, fully-funded rehabilitation centre would address the greatest areas of need, particularly for women and youth,” Sen Sgt Francis said.

“People with addiction feed that addiction by committing crimes so rather than punitive measures we have to get the addiction sorted.

“Rehab can’t be one dimensional. It needs to be multi-faceted and a major fully funded, regulated centre would have a greater success rate.”

Geelong family therapist and counsellor Colleen Morris, who has helped clients with addictions for 13 years, said Geelong’s existing “general rehabilitation centres“ did a “fantastic job” but were at full capacity with long waiting lists.

“It’s rare an individual will completely recover after one rehabilitation episode,” Ms Morris said.

“Recovery is a long-term haul and people may return many times before they completely recover.

“A multi-faceted and fully funded rehabilitation facility would be very welcome in this region to supplement our region’s limited resources.

“If a woman chooses to go into a Geelong rehab service, she’ll live side-by-side with men and other women with just a small bedroom suite for privacy.

“Already in a state of significant vulnerability, frequently women are easily exploited by other residents, adding additional challenges to their withdrawal and recovery.

“Our local youth-treatment facility, YSAS, designed for youth between 12 and 21, has four beds offering a four-night stay – hardly touching the surface of the escalating need in Geelong.”

Western Victoria MP Simon Ramsay called on the State Government to invest in rehabilitation.

“Rehabilitation in the drug and alcohol space would help young people at risk before they develop those chronic habits and routines that will put their future employment and social engagement at a significant disadvantage.”

Western Victoria Labor MP Gayle Tierney said the state’s $45.5 million Ice Action Plan would include an additional $18.2 million for drug rehabilitation, including therapeutic day services in Geelong.

“Along with this, Labor has established an 1800 Ice Advice phone helpline and website, increased the capacity of needle and syringe programs and developed a best-practice training curriculum to better-equip workers to deal with ice-affected clients.”

Originally published at Geelong Independent.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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