Merry Christmas to all!
It’s incredible to think that we’re about to sign off on another year. And what a year it has been.
Whether it be mandatory COVID vaccinations, snap lockdowns, workforce shortages to working through waiting lists and increased demand.
There has indeed been a lot of things that could make it easy for us to write the year off as one that we would prefer to not repeat – and I tip my hat to everyone working hard across the sector to ensure that services and programs continue to be available across the island.
A special acknowledgement to those in the sector ensuring they have remained involved in an increased number of workshops / information sessions focused on COVID recovery and response. This includes Ros Atkinson, CEO of YFCC who stepped up to be the north-west community representative on the Tasmanian Governments COVID-19 regional recovery committee. Everyone is contributing and I’m proud to be part of the Tasmanian ATOD sector at this time.
As the year comes to an end, when I reflect on the past 12 months the themes of patience and resilience (and the importance of prioritising) are top of mind. Those who read my updates know that I enjoy a good quote, and I’ll end the year with the following:
“The successful warrior is the average-man, with laser-like focus.” Bruce Lee
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates
These quotes resonate with me when I think about the effort and challenges the sector has navigated in 2021. It has been tricky and demanding, and we end the year with many achievements to be proud of and great progress occurring across a range of areas.
I get the privilege of being aware of so much of the work that is happening across the sector. While there is indeed still much to be done – I know that 2022 is also going to be a year filled with many positive changes.
This includes the opening of the new Serenity House on the north-west coast, and the graduation of more peer workers through the Drug Education Network’ program. This year we saw a reduction in the ADS’ waiting lists for pharmacotherapy treatment, and this is anticipated to continue next year alongside the expansion of the availability of injectable buprenorphine through private prescribers and pharmacists. We applaud the ADS for their work in this space, and the Department of Health’s proactive efforts to increase accessibility to naloxone across the State. We will have the launch of the new Healthy Tasmania Strategy, and the commencement of the ATDC’s cognitive enhancement project and the launch of the ATOD Communications Charter (and hopefully a range of positive announcements for our members in the 2022-23 State Budget!).
I couldn’t end the year without a special mention of the ATDC’s Lived Experience Advocates. It is through their efforts that we have seen an exponential increase in the involvement of people with lived experience in our sector. I thank each and every one of them for their courage to be part of this inaugural service, and to trust us and be patient with us as we continue to refine the Service. Thank you.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Chief Executive Officer