16 October 2020

Tania Maxwell MP, Member for Northern Victoria, says drug rehabilitation services are urgently required for regional areas battling high levels of supply and consumption.

The Pennington Institute’s Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2020 states more than 2000 Australians lost their lives to a drug overdose in a single calendar year for the fifth successive time, including a 123 per cent rise in deaths where four or more illicit substances were detected.  Additionally, more than 1500 unintentional drug-induced deaths in Australia occurred just in 2018 alone, of which around 56 per cent were in regional areas.

Ms Maxwell pointed to a 67 per cent rise in drug overdoses in the Wodonga-Alpine region between 2014 and 2018, alongside repeated and growing evidence that Victoria continues to have a desperate shortage of drug rehabilitation facilities and beds, with long average waitlist times.

Recent reports that drug dealers and users are utilising social media, in particular Instagram, to conduct their illegal trade demonstrate how relatively easily the drug trade continues through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms Maxwell asked the Government to outline its plans for establishing and/or providing additional funding for more drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities and services, including in a number of areas in Northern Victoria.

Quotes attributable to Tania Maxwell MP:

 

“More drug rehabilitation facilities are urgently needed to help break people’s drug addictions and dependencies and the many problematic consequences, including dangerous and recidivist criminal offending, being caused by them.”

“Regional Victoria continues to have inadequate resourcing by way of drug rehabilitation services, demonstrated by the long average waitlist times and repeated offending linked to drug use and dependency.”

“We have to break the cycle between drugs and crime, and rehabilitation facilities are a key component of this battle.”