St Vincent De Paul Society to establish drug and alcohol rehab in Tamworth

What is a day rehabilitation service?

DRUG and alcohol issues in the region are set to be addressed with the federal government pouring millions of dollars into local providers to stem substance abuse.

St Vincent De Paul Society was the big winner, securing $1.3 million to expand and establish treatment services in Tamworth, Armidale and around the New England North West.

Vinnies will be setting up a new drug and alcohol day rehabilitation program in Tamworth with the funding, a service that the city has been lacking.

The federal government delivered more than $3.25 million of funding, allocated through the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (PHN).

The PHN pinpointed drug and alcohol treatment, and indigenous mental health as key issues to specifically address in the region.

“We see that Tamworth has a significant need,” PHN chief executive officer Richard Nankervis said.

The new rehab for Tamworth will offer non-residential six-week-long intensive programs.

Vinnies senior operations manager for health David Kelly said the program will be free to patients.

“People will be able to refer themselves to service, they will be able to referred through other services and GPs,” Mr Kelly said.

“The six-week non-residential component will have 15 people at a time.

“We think we will be looking after about 60 people at one time and 200 people over the course of the year.”

The funding will also go towards expanding Freeman House in Armidale.

“There will be some extra residential rehab beds, particularly for parents with accompanying children and also for people with complex support needs,” Mr Kelly said.

There are also set to provide mobile outreach services to smaller communities.

Centacare New England North West also landed about $600,000 to boost their indigenous mental health service.

Executive manager Lea Sharpe said the funding would allow the organisation to provide culturally appropriate care to Aboriginal communities in Gunnedah, Narrabri and Moree.

“The flexibility and the fact we can run a service in a culturally appropriate framework is really what hasn’t happened,” Ms Sharpe said.

“The ability to do that is what’s amazing about this new funding.”

The funding will be reviewed on June 30, 2018.

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