Rehab centre would help combat ice problem

A drug rehabilitation centre and more resources for treatment services in Dubbo are desperately needed to help combat the ice epidemic, a case worker dealing with the issue has said.

The Salvation Army’s Rural Alcohol and Other Drugs Support Service (RAODSS) case worker Leyna Howard said services in the area were struggling to cope with demand and more funding and resources were desperately needed.

Data released by the Salvation Army on Monday revealed that over five years, there had been a 40 per cent increase in methamphetamine usage.

Ms Howard said 30 per cent of her client base were addicted to ice and there were more who were seeking assistance. She said an even greater number were addicted to the dangerous substance but not seeking help.

“There needs to be more resources, more funding and a rehab centre would be great,” Ms Howard said.

There are currently two facilities that service the Central West, at Brewarrina and Orange, but demand for services is high.

“I have one person in Nyngan who is trying to get clean and they had to go to the Central Coast to get assistance,” Ms Howard said.

Ms Howard said she also assisted family members of drug addicts, helping them to deal with the challenges they faced.

She said many were unaware of how to help their loved ones and were struggling to cope.

The RAODSS is a relatively new service, established by the Salvation Army and fully funded by the Country Women’s Association.

Ms Howard has been in the role for 12 months, and prior to that was a case worker in a different department of the Salvation Army.

She said the number of clients who are addicted to ice is increasing rapidly.

“Everyone I work with has some drug concern. Alcohol is the largest issue, 37 per cent of my clients have alcohol problems but ice is getting larger,” Ms Howard said.

“It’s cheaper than other substances and that has driven it’s rise in usage and addiction. But it can cause serious mental health problems.

“It’s an upper, so people can experience agitation and aggression and when it wears off and they come down, it has them looking for another fix.”

The Salvation Army data revealed that drug and alcohol use across NSW, Queensland and the ACT has risen by 40 per cent, with the same increase for ice usage.

It found that between 50 and 80 per cent of ice users also reported a mental health condition.