Member for Morwell, Russell Northe has today questioned the Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley on what the State Government plans are in building a much needed residential Alcohol and Drug rehabilitation facility in the Latrobe Valley.
Mr Northe said, “The lives of many individuals and families within the Latrobe Valley were being destroyed by drug abuse, and a local residential rehabilitation facility was desperately required to support those who seek help.”
Whilst there are some services and counselling available to individuals and families, this does not work for everyone and in many cases medium to long-term residential rehabilitation accommodation is required.
Unfortunately with increased drug use, there comes increased crime. For example there were 255 drug offences in Latrobe region in 2010, yet in 2017, this number had risen to 624. Recorded deaths from drug overdoses in Latrobe has tragically risen from four deaths in 2009 to ten in 2016. This figure does not include the many cases of people who have taken their own lives due to the impacts of alcohol and drugs.
Mr Northe was joined in Parliament by the parents of some families who have also been touched by the scourge of drugs, which often sees their children involved in crime, in court or even in jail. Even when a person seeks help through a rehabilitation facility the financial costs in many cases can be tens of thousands of dollars for their families.
“The State Government allocated $9.7 million in their 2017/2018 State Budget to plan for and purchase three new regional sites for drug rehabilitation; however it’s important to understand if any of this money will be spent in the Latrobe Valley” Mr Northe said.
Mr Northe subsequently asked the Minister for Mental Health whether the State Government intends to build a fully dedicated residential alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility in Central Gippsland to support local people who are struggling with drug abuse.
Mr Northe said whilst he appreciated the Ministers response to his questions, the reality is the State Government have made absolutely no commitment to build a residential alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility in Latrobe City and that is extremely disappointing for individuals and families contending with drug issues in our community.