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Inverell services on front line of healing

Date posted: 3 June 2015

New South Wales' services and professionals are under pressure to meet the volume of Inverell's chronic alcohol and other drug use.

Inverell Clinical Psychologist, Jamie Marshall, said local alcohol and other drug use is significant, and may point to deficits in local health services.

Mr Marshall said Inverell currently has limited access to a visiting psychiatrist from Armidale, and people may need to travel to a capital city in order to see a psychiatrist in a short timeframe.

Alcohol and other drug experts agree lifting the stigma from alcohol and other drug use and tailoring the approach to the individual is critical to aid those in crisis, but there are no rehabilitation services in Inverell.

Derek Boney and Michael Duncan are part of Inverell's Armajun Aboriginal Health Service alcohol and other drug team.

The Inverell Community Health clinic has a visiting drug counsellor and nurse on staff, but the Armajun team is the only Inverell service offering round-the-clock assistance.

They offer 24-hour availability to their clients, and their families to build healing and resilience.

'One thing I say to them is 'What do you want me to do? Not me saying, 'You've got to do this, and you've got to do this',' Mr Boney said.

Nicole Lee is an Associate Professor with Flinders University, and specialises in the study of methamphetamine users. She said removing the stigma from drug use is imperative to encourage users to take a step toward change.

'We know that early intervention is better; it's much more successful treating someone early, than it is when they're really, really entrenched in drug using.'

For any drug and alcohol support worker, it can seem relentless. But Mr Boney said he wouldn't be in it if it wasn't rewarding.

'Being honest, it's a (really) hard job, but I love it,' he said. 'Do I think we made a change? Yeah. Oh yeah.'

Source: The Inverell Times


Last updated: 2 June 2015
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute