Senator for the ACT, Zed Seselja and the ACT PHN today announced a funding package to support five local organisations to provide new specialist drug and alcohol services for people with substance use disorders in the ACT.

The Canberra region has received $2.8 million for Primary Health Networks to commission local drug and alcohol treatment services.

The funding forms part of the Federal Government’s $241.5 million for additional treatment services under the $298.2 million National Ice Action Strategy (NIAS) to reduce the impact of drug and alcohol misuse on individuals, families and communities.

Senator Zed Seselja welcomed the newly funded services which will help to combat the devastating impact that drug and alcohol misuse is having across the region.

“Drug use, particularly the use of Ice, is a serious issue for our local community,” said Senator Seselja.

 “This money will provide much needed services to people in our region that are grappling with Ice addiction and substance misuse.”

Capital Health Network (CHN) Chief Executive Gaylene Coulton said CHN, ACT’s primary health network (ACT PHN), has been working with the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT (ATODA), the ACT Drug and Alcohol service sector and ACT Health to identify gaps in local alcohol and other drug services.

“ACT PHN commissioned ATODA to conduct a needs assessment to identify service gaps and population needs for specialist drug and alcohol services in the ACT. In addition ACT PHN consulted with key stakeholders in the service sector.  Both the needs assessment and consultation informed our process to ensure we’re investing in local specialist drug and alcohol services to provide effective and efficient treatment services to Canberrans,” said Ms Coulton.

The needs assessment showed that there was a shortage of specialist alcohol and other drug counselling services in the ACT, with a much lower occurrence of episodes of care than other parts of Australia.

“To address this local need, this package is funding new specialist drug and alcohol counselling services which will help people receive immediate intervention and long-term support for substance use disorders, such as methamphetamine addiction or prescription opioid analgesic addictions,” said Ms Coulton.

“A Service Users’ Satisfaction and Outcomes Survey was conducted across ACT specialist alcohol and other drug organisations on a single day in 2015, the survey identified that at that point in time one in four people accessing alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment services in the ACT were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  Therefore part of this package is enabling local organisations to deliver indigenous-specific AOD services to clients and also to work with service providers in the AOD sector to ensure the services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients are culturally sensitive,” said Ms Coulton.

In response to the findings of the National Ice Taskforce, these additional services have been made possible through funding provided by the Australian Government under the PHN Program:

  • Specialist Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Counselling Services – ACT PHN has engaged Karralika and CatholicCare to deliver specialist AOD counselling services to residents of the ACT who are currently unable to access specialist AOD treatment services, including the ACT corrections population.  ACT PHN has engaged ACT Health to deliver specialist AOD counselling services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.
  • Indigenous specific AOD services – ACT PHN has engaged Gugan Gulwan, ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth organisation, to deliver indigenous specific AOD services.
  • Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Worker – ACT PHN has engaged CAHMA (Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation & Advocacy) to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients to navigate the AOD service system; deliver brief interventions; and work with service providers in the AOD sector to ensure the services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients receive, are where possible, culturally sensitive.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Office of Senator Zed Seselja: Veronica Hayes 0427 839 164

ACT PHN: Roz Lemon 0417 179 314