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Need for national standard for private drug rehabilitation services

Dear Editor

The need to help people who choose to take drugs is increasing.

In March, the independent Crime Statistics Agency released the latest crime figures for the year just gone.

It showed drug use and possession in Geelong went up by 38 per cent and by 166.7 per cent in north Geelong where drug dealing increased by 33 per cent.  In Geelong West, drug use increased by 33 per cent.

I wish we didn’t have this problem given the decision to take drugs is a choice.

Saying no to drugs enables that person, their family and their community to be their best.

Saying yes will achieve the opposite.  It’s not cool.

But for those that say yes, many wish they had said no.  We have to help these people.

Providing that help through detoxification facilities is currently limited because private facilities do not attract State Government funding.

It chooses not to fund private services until national standards and accreditation are in place.

That may be fair enough given we expect national health standards of all our hospitals and care facilities.

As such, I have written to the Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, urging his support to establish a National Standard and Accreditation system for private drug rehabilitation facilities.

I have also urged the Victorian Government to invest more into rehab provision – and it has – to government services.

However, despite the current lack of national regulation, the state also needs to fund private rehabilitation beds.  In this instance, waiting for regulation is only making the problem worse.

Funding private services such as Foundation 61 at Mt Duneed will make available so many more opportunities to help.

Unfortunately, the need is urgent.