NSW Labor will deliver six detoxification and rehabilitation clinics – with one to be established in Western Sydney and managed by the Noffs Foundation.
Labor has also indicated that Dubbo will be the site for one of the four regional sites.
In total, they will provide an additional 125 beds – costing a total of $100 million.
In addition, Labor re-committed to holding a drug summit patterned on the historic 1999 one to respond to illicit drug use in the community.
The summit will bring together experts, law enforcement, health professionals, family members and former users to consider evidence-based policy and to develop a way forward that protects lives. The historic 1999 Drug Summit gave rise to the medically supervised injecting room at Kings Cross.
NSW Labor leader Michael Daley made the announcement with Shadow Minister for Health Walt Secord, Noffs foundation CEO, Matt Noffs at Liverpool.
The Noffs Foundation will manage a 16-bed facility built in Western Sydney with a final site to be determined.
The Western Sydney facility would be focused on supporting western Sydney youth, with clients generally between the ages of 13 and 18.
Overall, when fully operational the clinics will treat up to 1,300 ice affected patients a year and will be staffed by social workers and health professionals.
The Noffs Foundation facility in Western Sydney will deliver:
- Up to 16 beds;
- Detoxification and rehabilitation support for drug-affected children;
- Mixed gendered facilities with separated sleeping facilities;
- Support for children following juvenile detention or those with violent histories; and
- An alternative pathway for Judges to keep children out of juvenile detention; and
- Support to get children out of the criminal justice and health system and into meaningful employment.
It is expected the average admission period would be around the three-month mark for most patients – however, there will be flexibility to take into account patients’ individual needs.
The Noffs facility will focus on providing services to youth addicted to ice and other drugs who are making efforts to avoid incarceration – or those who require additional rehabilitation post-incarceration.
Police and health professionals will be able to refer and take patients to the clinics where an accredited medical practitioner will assess the patient and issue a certificate to admit them.
Judges can also request the admission of patients and the requirements will be similar to the admission process for the current Involuntary Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program (IDAT).
Mr Daley said that the Berejiklian Government’s “just say no to drugs” approach is not working; we need to tackle the scourge of drug use, abuse and addiction in NSW.
“We need to get people, particularly kids, off drugs and into meaningful employment, but they are unable to do this if they do not have access to the proper support services,” Mr Daley said.
“Labor’s rehabilitation policy will get kids clean, out of the criminal justice system and into jobs or further study.”
Existing service providers say that their waiting lists for treatment are longer than they have ever been as there has been no significant increase in bed capacity since the increased funding that resulted from the Carr Labor Government’s Drug Summit in 1999.
Shadow Minister for Health Walt Secord said that the changing face of drug use presents challenges and the just say no approach by the Berejiklian Government has failed.
“We have to face that we cannot arrest our way out of the problem.”
“Ice is ruining people’s lives. The Berejiklian Government has the wrong priorities. While they splurge $2.2 billion on stadiums Labor will deliver the front line treatment and rehabilitation services to get kids off illicit drugs,” Mr Secord said.