TRADITIONAL drug and alcohol treatment programs might not be the answer to Tamworth or regional Australia's addiction epidemic.
The Tamworth Crime Prevention Working Group (TCPWG) met just last week to discuss an intensive community-based treatment program piloted in South Australia that saw 55 per cent of users go into remission.
Rather than be locked up and out of sight in the old Banksia Mental Health Unit, the 16-week Matrix program would see drug addicts helped from within the community.
Tamworth is known for innovation, and health care should be no exception, crime prevention group chair Russell Webb said.
"In a nutshell, this is a community-based program where providers work with people who have drug addictions in the community, in the workplace and at home," he said.
"As opposed to in an institutionalised facility where the success rate over time has been proven to be not that successful.
"There's a distinct difference in how this is run and why this is more successful."
The Matrix model was initially designed to treat those with methamphetamine addictions, and brings together relapse prevention, family therapy, group therapy, addiction education and peer support groups.
Outside of individual therapy, drug addicts are encouraged to find social support groups with friends who don't use and enjoy drug-free activities.
Tamworth health professionals were outraged last week when no announcements were made for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in the city, but one was handed to Dubbo.
A former Minister for Mental Health and Healthy Lifestyles, Kevin Humphries, attended the Tamworth get-together as an advocate for the Matrix rehabilitation program.
The rates of relapse are far lower with the Matrix program, Mr Humphries said.
"It won't be as expensive as residential rehab and certainly not as expensive as jail where a lot of people end up, but it is expensive in the sense it is highly socialised," he said.
"If we get enough push out of our community we can get some costings on it.
"What we don't have is a good alternative that's community based and I advocate we don't put more money into old treatment programs like old residential programs."
A letter is being drafted and signed by multiple agencies to be submitted to Tamworth Regional Council for approval, before Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson and Member for New England Barnaby Joyce are approached for their support.