Budget snubs drug findings

RESPECTED alcohol and drug expert John Close has warned that substance abuse and related violence will increase because the State budget ignored issues of alcohol and drug misuse.

He said the inquiry into alcohol related violence in Queensland should have ensured extra funding for drug and alcohol services to intervene on “the frontline”, but didn’t.

“I’ve been pleading with the Bligh Government to put the cash behind its parliamentary inquiry into alcohol related violence and other areas of drug misuse, to give communities at all levels the ability to stem the tide,” Mr Close said.

“We have piloted programs, developed programs and invested time and resources into analysing the issues and the problems.

“We’ve talked about them, formed committees...the only thing we haven’t done is finance the solution.

“For years the government has been saying there is no funding available.

“It’s 2010. Substance abuse and the violence that comes with it is rife throughout the state and the time is now.”

Mr Close said the Queensland Government was working to a 30-year-old formula which had failed to keep pace with the changing trends of alcohol and drug misuse.

He said the government’s response to the inquiry into alcohol related violence was to shift the responsibility on to hoteliers and councils.

“That’s all well and good but we still need teams on the floor to help alcohol and drug detoxers,” he said.

Mr Close has long been campaigning for a co-ordinated approach to tackling substance abuse.

“We’re now seeing amphetamines do to the non-indigenous community what alcohol has done to the indigenous community,” he said.

“We now see an escalation of people with alcohol and drug problems at every level of society and we’re seeing funding fall backwards from this State Government.”

Gympie Times


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