The latest shot in the war on ice
THE Federal Government will spend $225,000 on a bid to combat drug and alcohol use in Clarence Valley young people before it becomes ingrained in their lives.
On Friday the Member for Page Kevin Hogan launched a new program designed to work with young people in need of rehabilitation from drugs like ice, and alcohol.
The program has been been developed by independent North Coast drug and alcohol rehabilitation provider The Buttery and the North Coast Primary Health Network.
"The free new program is for young people in Grafton, Yamba and Maclean and has been designed to fill identified gaps in health services," Mr Hogan said.
"I would like to congratulate the North Coast Primary Health Network and the Buttery for developing this new program."
The new $225,000 Young People's Alcohol and other Drugs Early Intervention Program is part of the $5.7 million package Mr Hogan announced last year to develop services to tackle the scourge of ice in the Northern Rivers community.
The new service will operate out of the Grafton CHESS Employment office in Prince St, Grafton, which has partnered with the other services to provide the office space.
CHESS CEO Paul Kelly said the co-location of services would deliver improvements to all services.
"It's great news to have someone with the skills in the drug and alcohol field working so closely with other services," Mr Kelly said.
Earlier this year CHESS opened up some of its office space to headspace to allow the youth mental health service to begin operating ahead of schedule.
The manager of the Buttery outreach program, Krystian Gruft, said the government grant would allow funding for a single outreach worker, Rachel Geddes, who would work with other services to gain referrals.
"For example headspace could steer some people who need our services in our direction and we could send some people their way," he said.
"Rachel has worked extensively in the drug and alcohol rehabilitation area before, so she already has a good network of contacts."
Ms Geddes said her experience with the On Track program gave her an insight into the needs of the Valley's young people.
"It's a big area to work with, but I've got experience working with other groups who will now be able to use the services we're providing," she said.
NCPHN's director mental health reform Dr Megan Lawrance said the free program for young people aged 12 to 24 filled an identified gap in health services.
"The program will work closely with headspace Grafton when it opens in September," she said.