Drug and alcohol support highlighted

REGIONAL SUMMIT: An alcohol and other drug summit was held in Mount Gambier recently.

Charlotte Varcoe

BETTER resources for drug and alcohol abuse issues has been called for recently with the Substance Misuse Limestone Coast organisation rallying for those in need.

A Limestone Coast alcohol and other drugs regional summit was held with key stakeholders and more than 40 frontline workers involved in the alcohol and other drug sector from across the region.

SMLC project officer Sophie Bourchier revealed a number of difficulties faced by those with alcohol and drug addictions throughout the Limestone Coast and labelled a number of possible solutions moving forward.

Ms Bourchier said throughout the day’s workshop, a range of issues and themes had also emerged.

“Recently there have been more funding cuts within the drug and alcohol support sector and from what we understand, alcohol use has not gone down,” Ms Bourchier said.

“We currently have two drug and alcohol services where one provides face to face discussions in Mount Gambier and through tele-health for the broader region and there is another service which travels the region.

“There is also a service that provides rehabilitation with therapeutic counselling which includes two full time people who do assessments and counseling with one service for rehabilitation.”

Ms Bourchier said the SMLC would now continue to call for drug and alcohol services specifically targeting youth.

“Many of the youth services are incorporated into the adult services which means there are many youths missing out across the region,” she said.

“We are advocating both sides of state and federal government to look into improving services for the region as there is a need out there.”

She said throughout the summit a number of external agencies discussed the need for better promotion of services available.

“Agencies don’t have funding to promote their services and only deliver them which means people who are in need don’t know where to access alcohol and other drug services,” Ms Bouchier said.

“The SMLC are often contacted by the public trying to find help for family and friends and during the summit we also observed that agencies are calling for better training around the drug and alcohol issues.”

As for future projects, Ms Bouchier said herself and her team would continue to sort through the feedback presented to them and discuss plans on how best to continue advocating for the services.

The SMLC can be contacted on 8723 7310 for more information on how to access services across the region.