Alcohol and other drug services across Tasmania – already facing a perfect COVID19-inspired storm due to surging demand and reduced capacity – have been left in limbo by the Federal Government’s failure to guarantee $60 million in annual funding across Australia.
It is inconceivable that a government would not continue to fund such a critical program given the ongoing national concern and focus methamphetamines and its impact on families and communities across the country, the CEO of Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania, Alison Lai, said.
“Crystal methamphetamine or ‘ice’ remains a significant issue that our treatment services in Tasmania deal with on a daily basis and is second only to alcohol as the principal drug of concern in the state,” Ms Lai said
“Almost 1 in 4 people presenting to treatment are seeking support for amphetamine use and our services are reporting significant increases in client complexity and crystal methamphetamine continues to play a large role in this.”
Ms Lai said as the end date for National Ice Action Strategy (NIAS) funding looms with no word on continuation, services in Tasmania are growing increasingly nervous about what will happen to the vital programs and services relying on this funding.
NIAS funding supports community organisations delivering a diverse range of services right across Tasmania, such as the targeted alcohol and drug service run by Youth, Family & Community Connections (YFCC) in Tasmania’s North West.
YFCC relies on NIAS funding to provide specialised alcohol and other drug counselling and case management in Circular Head, Waratah-Wynyard and King Island, said Damian Collins, team leader at YFCC.
“Health Services in these remote areas are stretched beyond capacity, so without continued funding for this service through NIAS, many community members who are already experiencing marginalisation would be further disadvantaged, increasing the pressure on other services and the community as a whole,” Mr Collins said.
NIAS also supports Holyoake’s RECOVERY Program, but this program needs continued funding to be most effective, explains Holyoake chief executive Sarah Charlton.
“Our RECOVERY Program is an intensive 20-week relapse prevention program designed to reduce the number of criminal justice clients returning to prison due to relapse,” Ms Charlton said.
“Commencement of the program was delayed until early 2022, however for the life-changing RECOVERY program to achieve the best possible client outcomes, a 12- month timeframe for delivery is required.”
The NIAS provides some $60M across Australia each year for national treatment services, which represents about 50% of the Commonwealth government’s current investment in reducing demand for alcohol and other drugs and reducing the harms that use brings to individuals, families and communities.
Jennifer Duncan, CEO of the Australian Alcohol and other Drugs Council (AADC) urged the government to work with the sector to ensure continuity of service through confirmation of funding.
“We are keen to work with the government to secure this funding as quickly as possible so that we can provide certainty to service providers who are having to juggle staff retention, recruitment and service planning ahead of the June 30 deadline,” Ms Duncan said.
The AADC is urging the government urgently move to confirm this critical funding. It is also calling for additional funding in the March Federal Budget to finally tackle the acute underfunding of alcohol and other drug (AOD) services across the country. See the AADC’s Budget submission here.
Available for interview:
- Alison Lai – CEO, ATDC (0450 517 017)
- Tasmanian services that will be impacted by this loss of funding are also willing to speak to the media
- Liz Knox – Communications and Engagement Coordinator, ATDC (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0434 443 173)
Youth, Family & Community Connections Inc. (YFCC)Youth, Family & Community Connections Inc. (YFCC) is a not for profit, community organisation that provides a range of services to young people, families and individuals in communities across the North West Coast and West Coast of Tasmania.Read more✖
Youth, Family & Community Connections Inc. (YFCC)
YFCC envisions a community where individuals and families have the opportunity to achieve their goals and to seek positive change. Their treatments are client centred, solution focussed, holistic (they look at all the social determinants of health), and focussed on improving health and social outcomes within a harm minimisation framework. Their understanding of complex needs demonstrates a unique service delivery that values integrity, diversity, initiative and collaboration. The range of models that we work from underpins these values because they are passionate about supporting youth and families & communities toward a better future. Visit the YFCC website
HolyoakeHolyoake Tasmania Inc. (Holyoake) is a non-profit organisation, which offers a range of group or individual counselling programs for people affected by their own or another’s addictive behaviour or substance misuse.Read more✖
Holyoake was founded in 1975 in Western Australia when a small group of alcohol and drug dependent people were concerned about the quality and quantity of help available to individuals and their families with problems related to alcohol, drugs, gambling and other addictive behaviour. Holyoake has operated in Tasmania since 1988. Holyoake is a non-profit community based organisation. Holyoake is not affiliated with any religious, political or commercial organisation. All Holyoake programs are based on a harm minimisation model. Visit the Holyoake website
Australian Alcohol and other Drugs Council (AADC)The Australian Alcohol and other Drugs Council (AADC) is the national peak body representing the alcohol and other drugs sector. Its members, represents over 550 specialist health services more than 1600 specialist practitioners, researchers and policy specialists and people who use or have used alcohol and other drugs, and their familiesRead more✖
Australian Alcohol and other Drugs Council (AADC)
The AADC is the national peak body representing the alcohol and other drugs sector. Its members, represents over 550 specialist health services more than 1600 specialist practitioners, researchers and policy specialists and people who use or have used alcohol and other drugs, and their families. Visit the AADC website