First published with Youth Press Gallery – https://ymcapressgallery.com/2016/06/28/RURAL-DRUG-REHABILITATION-NOT-ENOUGH-FOR-HORSHAM-STUDENTS/


Improving access to drug rehabilitation in rural areas is important to Victoria’s
youth.

A bill to improve support services and increase community awareness of drugs
passed Youth Parliament this afternoon.

Ice use continues to devastate regional Victoria.

Rural parts of the state saw a 27.7 per cent increase in ambulance attendances for
ice from 2012 to 2014 compared 10.8 per cent in metropolitan Melbourne.

Gursewak Singh said rural communities were being neglected.

“These regions need the most social support and they are not receiving it,” he
said.

The bill called for a drug rehabilitation professional to visit rural areas which do not
have access to regular services.

It focussed on education, recommending every secondary student undergo at least two hours of illicit drug use education each year.

Many participants have seen the effects of illicit drug abuse first hand.

Participant Emma Peters lives in Horsham, a town infiltrated by ice.

“The lack of access to drug rehabilitation is appalling and is evident in my
community,” she said.

“In my English class alone, a class of 16 to 17-year-olds, I know without a doubt
there are more than four people that are currently using illicit drugs.”

Horsham Secondary College student Angus McDonald said addicts in Horsham do not have the support they “need” and “deserve”.

“As they search for rehabilitation centres the closest one they can find is in
Melbourne, three and a half hours away from Horsham,” he said.

Increased opening hours for rehabilitation centres and illicit drug information

sessions for sporting clubs were called for in the debate.

The Government commended the nature of the Opposition bill but said it failed to
offer a “comprehensive” and “holistic” approach.

They recommended increasing recreational activities available to youth in rural
areas to prevent them from turning to drugs.

The lack of support provided for drug rehabilitation upsets Deniliquin resident Kourtney Wallace.

“I think that the people who are likely to be disagreeing with our bill aren’t from
rural areas. They don’t understand the difficulties rural areas face when it comes to
getting the different kinds of support networks and the programs to educate,” she
said.

Ms Wallace said the difference between drug rehabilitation services in the city and rural areas  is unfair.

“Rural areas are left in the dark too much… and our youth are dying of an
ultimately avoidable cause.”

If you or someone you know needs help please contact the Family Drug Support
on 1300 368 186 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.