To address a major barrier to accessing alcohol and other drug treatment, Tasmania’s peak body for the alcohol, tobacco and other drug sector is calling on the State Government to commit to funding community sector withdrawal beds in northern Tasmania.
In December 2021 the ATDC identified community-based withdrawal beds as a priority for the 2022-23 State Budget. Further detail can be found here: https://www.atdc.org.au/bps-2022-23/
Limited access to withdrawal beds is a long-standing issue in Tasmania for people needing treatment for their alcohol or other drug use, but the community-managed sector is ready to go with a solution, said ATDC Chief Executive Alison Lai.
“Before you can enter a residential rehabilitation program, you usually need a short stay in a medical withdrawal unit, however alongside a critical shortage of beds, there are no beds located outside of Hobart,” Mrs Lai said.
City Mission, one of Tasmania’s largest community-managed alcohol and other drug service providers, is ready to progress construction of a new inpatient withdrawal service at the Missiondale residential rehabilitation facility in Evandale. All that is needed is commitment from the State Government.
“Missiondale, as a residential rehabilitation facility, is the ideal place for this service, bringing inpatient withdrawal beds to the north of the state for the first time,” Mrs Lai said.
Over half of Tasmania’s residential rehabilitation beds are in the North (34) and North West (20), while there are zero of the pre-requisite withdrawal beds in either region.
“Withdrawal beds in the north would significantly increase access to alcohol and drug treatment, as we know many clients are unable to make the journey to Hobart,” Mrs Lai said.
“Since 2008, there have been 4 reviews of the Tasmanian alcohol and other drug service system and repeated recommendations to increase access to withdrawal services, yet the number of beds has remained static.
“In fact, due to coronavirus restrictions, the number of beds has recently gone down from nine at full capacity to just five beds for the entire state, which we know is by far the worst ratio of in-patient withdrawal beds in the country.
“Community-managed withdrawal is a common and successful model in every other state and territory in Australia,” Mrs Lai said.
City Mission Chief Executive Stephen Brown stated, “The speed and ease of access for persons who have reached a decision to stop using drugs is an essential factor in an effective residential treatment service.”
“Access to community-based withdrawal beds in Tasmania will remove a well-known barrier to alcohol and drug treatment within the state,” Mr Brown said.
“The need for the service is undisputed, and the rationale for working with City Mission is sound – all we need to address this critical issue is the commitment and funding from the State Government to proceed,” Mrs Lai said.
- City Mission: https://www.citymission.org.au/about
- Missiondale: https://www.citymission.org.au/find-a-service/drug-alcohol-recovery/missiondale
Available for interview:
- Alison Lai – CEO, ATDC (0450 517 017)
- Stephen Brown – CEO, City Mission (0423 865 472)
Liz Knox – Communications and Engagement Coordinator, ATDC – email@example.com