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New group reveals how it will tackle CQ's drug crisis

DRUG BATTLE: A local drug action team has received funding to tackle CQ's growing drug problem.
DRUG BATTLE: A local drug action team has received funding to tackle CQ's growing drug problem. Leighton Smith

THE federal government has a new plan to tackle the scourge of the drug 'ice' which is destroying the social fabric of CQ.

An initial government funding commitment of $10,000 has led to the formation of a Central Queensland Local Drug Action Team (LDAT) as part of a $19.2 million allocation for the formation of 220 local drug action teams throughout the country over the next three years.

The LDAT team, which is led by local project officer Rhonda Shuker, comprises of organisations delivering support to those battling drug and alcohol addiction including Rockhampton's Helem Yumba CQ Healing Centre, The Salvation Army, Ice Affecting Families Capricorn Coast and Family Drug Support.

LOCAL CONSULTATION: Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Rockhampton LNP candidate Douglas Rodgers meet the new local drug action team.
LOCAL CONSULTATION: Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Rockhampton LNP candidate Douglas Rodgers meet the new local drug action team. Leighton Smith

"We'll work with other partners to develop up a partnership model and community action plan focused on what we have identified as community solutions but also extra consultation,” Ms Shuker said.

Over the past five years, Ms Shuker's Helem Yumba CQ Healing Centre which provides support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families at risk of domestic and family violence, has seen a steady ramping up of drug fuelled violence and family breakdowns as a consequence of the insidious drug's influence.

"In 2016 we held a couple of forums around alcohol and drugs at the request of the community and what came up was that families on the front line were deer in the headlights, not knowing what to do around some of the issues,” she said.

"So it's about building more resilient families, giving them some support around any of their family members using drugs that are impacting on the family.

"But also helping families get more involved with their children in their activities.”

LEADING THE FIGHT: Central Queensland Local Drug Action Team local project officer Rhonda Shuker is working towards solutions for the local drug addiction problem.
LEADING THE FIGHT: Central Queensland Local Drug Action Team local project officer Rhonda Shuker is working towards solutions for the local drug addiction problem. Leighton Smith

She said they were primarily focused on prevention and addressing the risk factors as the most effective way to minimise and prevent alcohol and other drugs harm.

"We plan to have our community action plan completed by 31 January 2018 and $30,000 more can be applied for in early February to actually implement the plan,” Ms Shuker said.

"The support is welcomed by us all and moving forward gives an element of hope.”

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the program would support teams to deliver local health promotion, community-led education and mentoring programs, early intervention and prevention programs, and provide support for vulnerable people to minimise their risk of alcohol and other drug related harms

DRUG BATTLE: A local drug action team has received funding to tackle CQ's growing drug problem.
DRUG BATTLE: A local drug action team has received funding to tackle CQ's growing drug problem. Leighton Smith

"We know a community response to an issue like drug and alcohol misuse is one of the best ways to effectively prevent and reduce the harms caused by drugs,” Ms Landry said.

"The roll out of Local Drug Action teams was a key action under the National Ice Action Strategy in response to the recommendations of the National Ice Task force, to increase community engagement and action to reduce the harms of drugs.

"We must also continue to stop these drugs entering Australia and we have already made significant investments in policing our borders and our streets to combat the supply of ice.”

Topics:  central queensland local drug action team family drug support helem yumba cq healing centre ice affecting families capricorn coast ldat michelle landry rhonda shuker the salvation army



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