Treating alcohol and drug addiction is far from an easy fix.
There are several associated issues to consider, including but not limited to unemployment, mental health and domestic violence.
Drug use and subsequent addictions can send individuals’ lives spiralling out of control and sometimes into a vicious cycle of crime.
It’s a worrying trend we’re seeing with the growing scourge of crystal methamphetamine, or ice, which is devastating regional communities.
Firstly, addicts need to want to address their problems and when they commit to rehabilitation, it’s crucial they are able to access appropriate treatment options.
Yesterday, a plan to tackle alcohol and drug issues in the Goulburn Valley was launched, with health officials from across the region gathering to discuss the issues.
Firmly on the agenda was the issue of local people having access to treatment where they live.
Goulburn Valley Health representative Leigh Rhode said those living in regional places had a more difficult time than people in metropolitan areas in terms of getting the treatment they need.
She said the need to travel to Melbourne for specialist treatment could result in disconnection from their community, and make it harder to go through rehabilitation.
This year, the introduction of a day rehabilitation service in Shepparton has partly addressed this issue. It is a good start, but there is still plenty of work to be done.
Still up in the air are plans for a residential rehabilitation facility near Numurkah, that was knocked back by Moira Shire Council earlier this year.
An appeal against that decision currently sits with VCAT, and we should know more by early next year.
We know there are reasons why the council knocked back that application, but if this location does not ultimately get the tick of approval, there has to be some place that does fit the bill.
We also know there are many reasons why people develop alcohol and drug addictions.
For those who want to kick the habit and get their lives back on track, we must try and help them to break the cycle and realise their potential.
Having sufficient local options available will be helpful for them to realise there is a way out and there is a positive future for them in the community if they commit to a treatment plan and follow it through.