HEALTH advocates claim drug addicts in this region have been left in the lurch as the state government announced $7.5 million for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre for Dubbo in its next budget.
In Tamworth, help is hours away and beds even harder to secure for those who fall into the clutches of alcohol or drug addiction and end up homeless, behind bars, or even dead.
Despite a sustained push locally, it seems the city has missed out yet again. It's frustrating for people like Tamworth Aboriginal Medical Service chief executive Robert Berwick, who knows the drug abuse issue in the region is "excruciating" to try to tackle.
"We are confronted by it on a regular basis and it bridges socio-economic backgrounds and lived experiences," he said.
"We need to review the whole process and break down the stigma of substance abuse, people don't choose to become dependent.
"If people start to understand this is something that people do to deal with trauma, there may be more empathy or political motivation to address the current disparity of drug treatment."
Labor first promised four regional mandatory detox and rehabilitation centres if it was elected in 2019, when Tamworth Labor Duty MLC Daniel Moohkey argued "northern NSW would be at the forefront of discussions".
At the time former 'Ice Action Group' leader Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said: "ultimately, we're going to build a facility and it's something we're going to continue to work towards."
Two years later, there's still no plans for a unit, but with a new Banksia Mental Health Unit on the cards, Mr Anderson said he's determined to keep the old building in public hands.
"The action we are working on is finding a facility, I have looked at a couple of different sites but the options that would suit the community have not suited the neighbours," he said.
"This is a facility that is sensitive, so to be able to utilise an existing building in an appropriate environment close to care, clinical services and support networks is something I am gunning for."
Tamworth Regional Council councillor Mark Rodda said Mr Anderson should have done more.
"It's the folly of being in a safe coalition seat that returns a member and doesn't have great expectations of what that member will deliver," he said.
"We don't get a lot from city-centric governments so it's beholden on those members in rural areas to understand we need those facilities too."