This week’s release of the 7th report of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program highlights the continued challenged faced by our communities around illicit drug consumption.  Such data provides valuable information to inform our efforts to reduce the use of harmful substances that often lead users into a spiral of addiction, associated criminal activity and incarceration.

Last week I visited The Cottage, a private not-for-profit facility in Shepparton that is dedicated to providing safe, drug free accommodation to people trying to free themselves of addiction.

I am very grateful to the residents of The Cottage, who openly and honestly shared details with me of how their lives have unravelled.  Each story was different, but the prevalence of childhood trauma, including violence or sexual abuse, sadly and overwhelmingly underpinned their experiences of addiction.

There was a lot of hope and optimism evident at The Cottage, couched in the acceptance of vulnerability and sheer reality of the hard road ahead for residents to transform their lives. Rob, Maria and Aaron encourage each resident to find their ‘why’ as an important path to change.   It left me wondering why WE aren’t doing more to provide greater access to rehabilitation services so desperately and evidently needed.