New initiatives to tackle drug use in the Far North
Friday, 21 April 2017
THE Torres Strait will be one of the first communities in Australia to benefit from a new Coalition Government initiative to tackle illegal drug use, says Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch.
The Torres Strait has been named as one of an initial 40 locations where a Local Drug Action Team (LDAT) will be set up, supported by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation. Over the next three years, an additional 180 teams will be established across the country.
“The LDAT is a partnership between local councils, service providers, schools, police and non-government organisations who will work together to reduce the harm that drugs, particularly ice, are having on our communities,” Mr Entsch said.
“These teams will be focused on delivering local health promotion, community-led education and mentoring programs, early intervention and prevention programs, and providing support for vulnerable people to minimise their risk of alcohol and other drug related harms.”
The roll-out of LDATs is a key action under the National Ice Action Strategy in response to the recommendations of the National Ice Taskforce, to boost community engagement and action to reduce the harms of drugs.
The $19.2 million for the LDATs will come from the Australian Government’s broader investment of $298 million over four years to stamp out illicit drug and alcohol abuse.
Australians are proportionally using more methamphetamine, including ice, than almost any other country. Conservative estimates suggest there are more than 200,000 ice users in Australia.
“While I’m not aware of widespread ice use in the Torres Strait, I commend the community for wanting to be proactive about educating locals on the dangers of this drug,” Mr Entsch said.
“It’s one of the most addictive and harmful substances around and when people on the ground are calling for more relevant approaches to tackle the challenge, there’s no doubt that locally-tailored strategies will be more effective in dealing with local issues.”
On the back of the successful Good Sports program, the Australian Government has also expanded its scope to include a focus on illegal drugs.
“Sporting clubs offer the community a supportive environment and encourage positive behaviour. By supporting local clubs with the right tools we can build their confidence to better prevent and manage illegal drug issues,” Mr Entsch said.
According to the Good Sports website, there are currently no sporting clubs in the Torres Strait that participate in the Good Sports program.
“There are a wealth of resources available to sports clubs to promote the Good Sports program so I’d urge any clubs in the Torres Strait to take advantage of this for the benefit of players, supporters, families and the broader community,” he said.
Thirdly, a new information toolkit ‘Cracks in the Ice’ provides people with up-to-date and relevant information at their fingertips.
Community groups, families and friends of people who are using ice will be able to access quality information about methamphetamine, including the harms they can experience and details on services and support options available.
For more information about these initiatives please visit the links below:
Local Drug Action Team: www.adf.org.au/ldat
Good Sports Program: www.adf.org.au/good-sports
Cracks in the Ice: www.cracksintheice.org.au