NACCHO Health News :Ice addiction is overtaking alcohol as the biggest problem facing Indigenous populations.

 

 

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“I acknowledge the strong role played by Aboriginal organisations like Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Services and the Aboriginal Health and Medical Resource Council in delivering community wellbeing and substance abuse services in the Moree region,”

Minister Scullion

“Ice addiction is overtaking alcohol as the biggest problem facing Indigenous populations,

The head of a rehabilitation centre specialising in treatment for Aboriginal people . Joe Coyte is CEO of The Glen, on the New South Wales Central Coast, which treats about 200 addicts each year

Joint Media release with Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, Assistant Minister for Health

The Australian Government is supporting much-needed drug and alcohol rehabilitation services in Moree. Senator Fiona Nash, Assistant Minister for Health, visited the service today with local member, Mark Coulton.

Senator Nash confirmed that funding has been approved by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, of $3 million over two years to re-establish the Moree Drug and Alcohol Residential Rehabilitation Service.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, recently announced that under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, 964 organisations would be funded to deliver 1297 projects to Indigenous people and communities throughout Australia.

“The $3 million in funding provided by the Commonwealth for this service under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy demonstrates our commitment to supporting services promote individual and community wellbeing and reduce substance abuse in the Moree region,” Minister Scullion said.

“Having spoken with local drug and alcohol service providers, as well as many Moree community members I understand the importance of a service such as this in Moree. The concern on the ground in this town about the effects of alcohol and illicit drugs, including ice, are very real,” Minister Nash said.

This funding will be provided to the Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Services and St Vincent de Paul Consortium to deliver culturally appropriate alcohol and other drug prevention, education, treatment, rehabilitation and aftercare services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Moree.

“I acknowledge the strong role played by Aboriginal organisations like Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Services and the Aboriginal Health and Medical Resource Council in delivering community wellbeing and substance abuse services in the Moree region,” Minister Scullion said.

“I also thank the local member, Mr Mark Coulton MP, in championing the service and congratulate him on his success in securing this funding for his region.”

The aim of the service is to promote individual and community wellbeing and reduce substance abuse in the Moree region. The consortium, recognised as a leading Aboriginal owned and controlled health service, will deliver culturally appropriate alcohol and other drug prevention, education, treatment, rehabilitation and aftercare services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Moree.

“Minimising the harm associated with alcohol and other drug misuse to individuals, families and communities is an important priority for the Government,” Minister Nash and Minister Scullion said.

The service will provide a 12 week intensive residential rehabilitation programme for up to 18 clients at a time, four female and 14 male.

“The Coalition Government understands the importance of support for rehabilitation. Treatment services provide a vital function in getting people off drugs and alcohol and being able to again contribute to society,” Minister Nash said.

Minister Nash also announced yesterday that alcohol and drug treatment organisations which receive funding from the Australian Government will have their funding extended until 30 June 2016.

“The Coalition Government understands the importance of support for rehabilitation. Treatment services provide a vital function in getting people off drugs and alcohol and being able to again contribute to society,” Minister Nash said.

These recent announcements demonstrate the Government’s recognition of the importance of drug and alcohol rehabilitation for clients, families and the communities.

Ice addiction overtaking alcohol as biggest problem facing Indigenous Australians, rehab expert says

Updated Wed at 8:21pmWed 1 Apr 2015, 8:21pm

Ice addiction is overtaking alcohol as the biggest problem facing Indigenous populations, the head of a rehabilitation centre specialising in treatment for Aboriginal people says.

Joe Coyte is CEO of The Glen, on the New South Wales Central Coast, which treats about 200 addicts each year.

More than half are Indigenous.

“Our data shows that in the last 12 months, amphetamine use is the drug of choice for over 50 per cent of our clients,” Mr Coyte told 7.30.

“That is tipping stats on their head, because if you had asked me this in 2010, alcohol was sitting over 50 per cent.

“Alcohol is now just over 30 per cent, so there has been a massive increase in guys coming to the service who are saying that ‘the biggest problem in my life at the moment is amphetamine use’.”

This week the Federal Government announced centres that treat ice addiction, like The Glen, would have their current funding extended for another 12 months.

There was speculation funding would not be renewed, even though new statistics from the Australian Crime Commission suggest the number of regular ice users has doubled since 2010.

We offer 32 beds that never shut down. The demand for beds here is incredible.

Joe Coyte, CEO of The Glen

Mr Coyte is relieved – for the moment.

“But also frustrated,” he said.

“There have been losses, not to The Glen itself, but to the drug rehab sector, of people and expertise, because of the uncertainty around funding.

“A place like The Glen does not need a lot more money, what it does need is for funding to be secure and long term.

“If we did have that kind of security, we would be able to go out and secure other sources of funding and focus on establishing other services that are needed, like a facility like The Glen for women.

“We have plans to start a women’s facility. There are gaps in our strategic plan because we have to stay focused on survival.”

Only 10 out of 100 applications accepted

7.30 was granted unprecedented access to The Glen to speak to residents struggling with ice addiction.

“We offer 32 beds that never shut down,” Mr Coyte said.

Ronald Ball, a patient at The Glen drug rehabilitation centre

“The demand for beds here is incredible. Every month we have at least 100 applications, if we are lucky we can invite 10 people into our program.”

Ronald Ball has spent almost all of his adult life in jail. He has struggled with addictions to both alcohol and ice.

“Once I mixed the two together, I was a time bomb waiting to go off,” he told 7.30.

“Ice is just an upper, you know, it’s a rush. It gives you a feeling of ego. It gives your ego energy.

“But I know deep down inside its wearing me apart — my spirit, my soul — it just wears it out of me.”

Mr Ball has been to The Glen twice and if he relapses again, he will not be allowed back.

“First time I came here with a head on from courts and I knew I had problems,” he said.

“But as soon as I got out, I just went back to the negativity, old associates.

“Second time I come back, I picked up as soon as I left here. I have a different plan this time.”

Mr Ball’s motivation this time around is the baby his partner is expecting.

“My new baby … going to name him Courage,” he said, pointing to a picture of his fiancee.

“Because that’s what it has taken me, taken me a lot of courage to change everything about me.

“Without the hand of Glen and the hand of rehab I would probably be dead in the gutter today.

“This is my last chance. It’s time for me to man up and be the man I want to be.”

 

 

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