Drug campaigners are looking to a half-a-billion dollar commitment by the state government to fund a new rehabilitation unit in Tamworth.
The Fair Treatment campaign has spent years building pressure to complete a new facility and other services for people suffering drug and alcohol problems in the north west region.
In a long-delayed response to an inquiry into the drug ice, the state government announced a $500 million investment in health and justice reforms, on Wednesday.
Social Justice Advocate at Uniting Alex Hogan said the campaign needed to tap into the cash, which amounts to the biggest expansion of drug services in the state's history.
"Just making Tamworth the priority. We campaigned for nearly two years to get them to respond to the ice inquiry. We've met with a third of the NSW parliament," she said.
"We've brought people with lived experience, and people from churches face-to-face with politicians
"It's exhausting. We're really happy about the announcement. We're disappointed about how little they've done around drug law reform.
"In terms of the injection of funding into the sector, that is really needed, and we've got to make sure it goes into areas like Tamworth where the community has really been calling out for it and have been campaigning to make it happen."
Ms Hogan was one of many to be disappointed the state government didn't go further, and support an end to the 'war on drugs' approach to using criminal punishments to deter drug use.
The inquiry was released 1000 days ago this month, she said.
Nonetheless the funding is a huge opportunity for the city and the region, she said.
She said $39 million in spending announced a week ago to finance new mental health and drug treatment hubs was another good target for better services.
"That seems like a great option around Tamworth as well," she said.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson has long backed the call for a drug and alcohol unit in Tamworth, pointing to the old Banksia building that will be vacated when the state government constructs a new mental health unit as a good candidate for a venue.
Fair Treatment member Bruce Neild, said it was as much about getting the city's fair share as it was about filling the gaps in the health system.
The campaign kicked off in Tamworth a year ago, fresh from successfully locking in a state government commitment to a new unit in Dubbo.
"It's a real hard argument, that Dubbo's got what it's got, so why doesn't Tamworth and its region get what Dubbo's got," he said.
"If we're twice the size, shouldn't we be getting twice as much?"
Mr Neild said "social disconnection" driven by the COVID-19 pandemic had made a bad problem worse.
He said many had mentioned a lack of peer support as a major problem, in surveys handed out by the Fair Treatment group.
"For the general population, we really do need a custom facility in Tamworth," he said.
"We need all the peer support people have talked about and we need to make sure that our young people actually are having their problems treated as health problems, and not as criminal problems."
The state government will spend $7.5 million on a new drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation centre in Dubbo.
The group believes that for every dollar invested into drug treatment, the health and criminal justice benefits equal $7 back into the community.
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