Responding in regional and rural communities

The effects of addiction are felt in every corner of our state.

Many regional communities have felt this devastation more acutely – particularly when it comes to ice – which is why we’ve targeted regional treatment and rehabilitation.

Treatment services are being expanded across the state, giving more Victorians access to the support they need, closer to their loved ones and support networks.

Over 50% of additional residential rehabilitation beds are being delivered in rural and regional Victoria.

Rehabilitation programs

New therapeutic day rehabilitation programs are now available in 7 regional locations, including:

  • Mildura
  • Warrnambool
  • Bendigo
  • Geelong 
  • Shepparton 
  • Moe
  • Ballarat

To 30 June 2017, over 1,200 people have engaged in therapeutic day rehabilitation across the State. New residential rehabilitation beds will open in Bendigo in the coming months.

New residential drug rehabilitation facilities

Recognising the impact of illicit drugs throughout regional Victoria, $9.7 million has been provided to acquire land in Gippsland, Hume and Barwon to build new residential drug rehabilitation facilities.

Development of a new 20-bed residential rehabilitation facility in Ballarat will also start in early 2018, with this new service to commence from October 2018.

Establishing forensic hubs

New state-of-the-art Victoria Police forensic hubs are being established in two regional locations, including the Latrobe Valley, to fast-track investigations into ice and stop the trafficking of this harmful drug in country towns.

Local solutions

Local solutions are pivotal to tackling the use and impact of ice. The Ice Action Plan provides $500,000 to support Community Ice Action Groups. 38 funding grants have been provided to local ice action groups in regional and rural communities to prevent and reduce ice-related harms.

The grants are supporting local solutions such as workshops, forums, local campaigns, training and engagement with young people.

Community Ice Action Group – AFL Central Victoria (Bendigo)

In 2016, AFL Central Victoria received a Community Ice Action Grant to educate young football and netball players in their communities about the dangers of illicit drugs, with an emphasis on ice.

Across 2016 and 2017, the program ran 15 sessions at football and netball clubs across the AFL Central Victoria region, with more than 1,000 players, parents and club administrators attending.

The program involved presentations from a member of Victoria Police, a local health expert working in the drug and alcohol field, and someone with local experience to provide strategies to drive positive connections and behaviours.

The expert health worker provided education and referral advice for people affected by problematic substance use. By openly discussing substance misuse, the program aimed to equip clubs to lead conversations about the issue and develop strategies and policies to respond and build positive club culture.

Some of the clubs visited were Pyramid Hill, Mitiamo, Newbridge and St Arnaud, as well as a number of Bendigo-based clubs including Bendigo Pioneers (TAC Cup Club) and the Bendigo Umpires Association.