In October 2015, the Final Report of the National Ice Taskforce was submitted to the Australian Government, detailing strategies to address the high level of drug use - particularly methamphetamine use - in Australia.
A key recommendation from the report was tasking PHNs with the role of ensuring Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) treatment services within their region met the needs of their local population. In response, the Federal Government committed $241.5 million to primary health networks commencing late 2016, to increase AOD treatment services - including addressing methamphetamine use - across Australia.
Our PHN has since been working around the clock to set up a range of new AOD services within our region.
We have really engaged with local stakeholders in a major way to understand the local needs relating to AOD, and then designed services based on these needs. We've established and worked with our local Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee who has guided the commissioning of Aboriginal specific AOD services and made sure that the services support better mental health as well. Their input also lead to the development of a more a culturally-appropriate commissioning model to ensure the most suitable applicants can be identified through the tender process.
We feel very strongly that the services we're commissioning really are addressing true needs in the community.
NADA, the peak NSW body for Drug and Alcohol, has been working actively with all the PHNs in the State and the latest edition of the NADA Advocate showcases the range and diversity of AOD related services being worked on by each PHN. It highlights the diversity of our respective regions, and demonstrates that where health is concerned, one size - or one service - does not fit all.
I would like to acknowledge the hard work of our Drug and Alcohol and Mental Health teams in coordinating this level of activity. As the full tender stage reaches completion, we will be publishing a lot more detail about the new AOD services that our community will be able to access.