Wide Bay drug addict numbers shooting up
RESIDENTS in the Wide Bay region have spent the equivalent of 266 years in drug and alcohol treatment centres in just 12 months, reiterating calls for a rehabilitation centre to be built in Bundaberg.
Addiction to methamphetamine, alcohol and cannabinoids are among primary causes that led to 1744 people accessing treatment in the 2017-18 financial year, according to Queensland Health data.
More than 620 people sought help for cannabis abuse, 433 people for alcohol and 359 for an addiction to methamphetamine.
The overall number is an increase of 235 people requiring help compared to the previous year, with IWC general manager Wayne Mulvany saying the data shows that the region's struggle with alcohol and other drugs addiction (AOD) isn't going anywhere and the need for a rehab centre is still of major concern.
"To this date, nothing has happened to make that priority a reality, and the Bundaberg region does not have residential rehabilitation treatment services," he said.
"In fact, there has been little movement by the powers that be to progress any improvements in AOD treatment for our region.
"Sadly the problem, according to Queensland Health's own data, has not gone away."
He said is was estimated that 70 per cent of AOD issues had to be dealt with in the Primary Health Care space, but appropriate funding was not being allocated to reflect the demand.
"On-the-ground providers of AOD services, and in particular general practices, are poorly supported in this area of AOD support but are left to pick up the pieces," he said.
Bridges Health and Community Care chief executive officer Sharon Sarah said the drug and alcohol service had provided more than half of the region's addiction treatment accessed in the 2017-18 financial year.
"The remainder of services are delivered by the hospitals, other smaller providers and through Queensland Health's drug diversion programs," she said. "Our statistics show that there were more people seeking help for methamphetamine use (38 per cent ) than either alcohol (34 per cent ) or cannabis (20 per cent).
"This trend is continuing so far in this financial year with almost identical statistics to date." Mr Mulvany said the IWC had fought for government funding for the region to support AOD treatment services for years, and co-hosted the Bundaberg Region Community Ice Forum in 2016 alongside the NewsMail.