Goal to get south-west residental rehabilitation centre

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Warrnambool city councillor Sue Cassidy is on board in the fight to get a drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation centre in the south-west. Picture: Amy Paton

Warrnambool city councillor Sue Cassidy is on board in the fight to get a drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation centre in the south-west. Picture: Amy Paton

Senior Sergeant Shane Keogh from Warrnambool police says drug and alcohol addictions are behind much of the crime committed in the south-west. Picture: Amy Paton

Senior Sergeant Shane Keogh from Warrnambool police says drug and alcohol addictions are behind much of the crime committed in the south-west. Picture: Amy Paton

Multi-layered push for new rehab centre

DIRECTOR of Western Region Alcohol and Drug centre (WRAD) Geoff Soma believes the agency is well placed to pursue its goal of getting a residential rehabilitation centre for the south-west.

Mr Soma estimates a residential rehabilitation centre would cost $2.3 million to build and a further $1.5 million annually to operate.

While the concept is still in its development stage, Mr Soma said work carried out by WRAD proves such an expense is justified.

"There is no way we are going to rush into this," Mr Soma said.

"But having said that, we have declared our hand that this is something we want to happen. It is important and our clients would benefit from it so it's a matter of pulling together a whole lot of different parts to make this happen. We will fairly soon have some discussions with the department about their appetite for a residential rehabilitation centre in this part of the region.

“Then, we would have to negotiate re-current funding. However quickly we operate, there is no way we are going to get into this year’s budget, we are probably looking at 2017 to lobby.” 

Geoff Soma

Geoff Soma

Mr Soma said the task of gathering evidence to support the push for a residential rehabilitation centre is a multi-layered one.

He said WRAD has been involved in industry discussions and has used the recommendations from this forum to help establish what is needed at a local level.

"The first stage of this process was reporting some of the frustrations about trying to get people into residential rehabilitation,” Mr Soma said.

“WRAD decided to employ someone in July last year in a service development position. This was to actually back up what we were saying, to support the recommendations that had surfaced. We established there is a need for a centre.

“The next part is around the target group. You can focus on youth, adults, older adults, male, female, there is some work to be done around the target group and then the model of treatment. Not all residential rehabilitation models are the same.”

Mr Soma said people with drug and alcohol additions need up to six months intensive treatment to help them break their habits.

He said a residential rehabilitation centre would not only provide them with a facility to receive such treatment but also ongoing care.

Even when people complete treatment, they are still going to require ongoing support. - GEOFF SOMA

“It’s better to have something close to home where they can be supported and re-integrated back into the community,” he said.

He said the location of a residential rehabilitation centre would be carefully considered.    

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