Outreach extended for Substance Misuse Service

The Substance Misuse Services staff with a representative from Enterprise Car Hire.
The Substance Misuse Services staff with a representative from Enterprise Car Hire.

Port Augusta's Substance Misuse Service will expand its community outreach with a new vehicle to assist with client pick up and recovery.

While a mobile assistance program currently exists, the vehicle will allow the team to travel off road and to areas of limited access.

Substance Misuse Manager Jo Newell said the vehicle will greatly improve the service.

"This new vehicle will definitely make it easier for our staff to locate vulnerable people who may be living or temporarily residing on land or property which is usually hard for us to access," she said.

"Our staff are keen to assist as many vulnerable people as possible, and thanks to Enterprise Car Rental (a new local business) this vehicle should also assist us to increase our care and services to people in our community."

The Council run service celebrated its 20th anniversary last year and incorporates many programs including; assertive outreach, exceptional needs, used needle pick up and a sobering up unit and clean needle program.

The vehicle has been leased by the federally funded Assertive Outreach program which works alongside existing services, including hospital, GP, police and community services, to identify people at risk.

Port Augusta City Council Director of City Services Melissa Kretschmer welcomed the addition.

"One of the Substance Misuse Service goals is to enhance the health and wellbeing of the Port Augusta community by increasing awareness and knowledge of issues, concerns and effects of substance misuse," she said.

"The lease of this vehicle will allow the team to continue to offer more holistic support, assistance and case management for members of our community."

A recent wastewater analysis saw South Australia retain its unwanted crown as the methamphetamine capital of the country.

Health workers estimate 20,000 to 50,000 South Australians each year are not getting the help they require to curb their drug and alcohol addictions.

With waits for rehabilitation services of up to 10 weeks the federal government allocated $2.5 million in 2019 to boost treatment services in the Far North, including a family drug support program in Port Augusta.

The support group, run by Family Drug Support, offers a chance for family members - parents, partners, grandparents, siblings and significant others - to gather together to share their stories and collective wisdom.

Family Project Officer Angela Tolley runs the monthly meetings.

"As people emerge from Covid-enforced confinement, we have noticed an increased demand from family members reaching out for support," she said.

"More than ever, these meetings offer those people an opportunity to lighten their load by telling their stories, without judgement, in a safe and confidential environment."

Sessions held on the third Thursday of every month from 5-7pm in the Institute Meeting Room on Commercial Road.

Transportation to and from the meetings can be arranged by calling the Port Augusta City Council.

"We advocate for harm minimisation as a oppose to zero tolerance, we believe that families do the best they can and if they are supported they can build resilience and survive their journey intact," Ms Tolley said.

"That really helps the outcome for the people using the drugs - if the families keep strong and are supported by people who understand then they can be there for the person when they need them.

"Really it's up to the person using the drugs to take those hard steps to get well."