The Goulburn Valley will get more locally-based drug treatment options to deal with the growing scourge of ice and other drugs.
At the launch of the Goulburn Valley Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan yesterday, health officials from across the region gathered to discuss a plan of action to help people beat addiction.
Goulburn Valley Health’s community and integrated care executive director Leigh Rhode said locals faced more hurdles than their urban counterparts when it came to beating a substance addiction.
‘‘Historically people from here have often needed to go to Melbourne for specialist clinical treatment services,’’ Ms Rhode said.
She said that disconnection from the community made it more difficult for people to go through rehabilitation.
‘‘Part of the importance of the recovery process is being connected, maintaining contact with family,’’ she said.
‘‘Those things are really important for people’s recovery journey.’’
In the last 12 months some progress had been made by the introduction of a day rehabilitation service in Shepparton.
Since its introduction 97 people have participated in the 10-week program, with 73 successfully completing the treatment.
‘‘The next thing we are working on is the establishment of four bed-based withdrawal services in the region,’’ Ms Rhode said.
Currently there are home-based withdrawal services in the region, but Ms Rhode said some people needed the added safety of withdrawal in a medical facility.
Once someone has successfully withdrawn they can then go on to rehabilitation, but the missing link in the region is still a locally-based drug and residential rehabilitation facility.
The Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO) had its proposal for a residential rehabilitation facility at Numurkah knocked back by Moira Shire Council earlier this year, meaning people need to use the non-residential rehabilitation on offer locally, or head to a clinic in Melbourne.
According to figures released in the services plan there are an estimated 3140 regular users and 1865 dependent users of ice within the Goulburn Valley.
Ms Rhode said it was important for all health and community services within the Goulburn Valley to tackle addiction together.
‘‘It’s really important for service providers to come together and have a vision of where we need to be, what we need to advocate for and build on the services we have,’’ she said.