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Community

24 May, 2021

Alcohol, ice biggest abuse problems locally

THE latest data from two local alcohol and drug support organisations shows alcohol and methamphetamine (ice) are the most abused substances in the Mackay area.

By David Lornie

THE latest data from two local alcohol and drug support organisations shows alcohol and methamphetamine (ice) are the most abused substances in the Mackay area. 

Lives Lived Well’s Clinical Services Manager for Central and North Queensland Mus Elkhishin told the Mackay Local News that of all people seen in February, 2021, nearly half (44 percent) were seeking treatment for ice abuse. 

“Alcohol follows closely with 34 percent seeking primary support for alcohol and 15 percent were seeking help for cannabis. There was a slight increase in enquiries in February 2021,” Mus said. “Based on our latest data to February 2021, we have been enrolling on average about 80 people per month... in the past quarter. 

“Of those people engaging with our Mackay programs from October 2020 to February 2021, 62 percent were males, with 35 percent falling in the 26 years to 35 years age range.” 

Mus said that substance use trends in Queensland tend to fluctuate. 

“The prevalence of problematic substance use tends to be higher in regional areas. The highest number of program enquiries have been for ice help and withdrawal support,” Mus said. 

There are several therapies available for those seeking help at organisations such as Lives Lived Well, whose clinicians use evidence-informed approaches such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and Motivational Interviewing (MI). 

 “Good case management and care coordination with other support services are also crucial for ensuring wrap-around support and holistic care for clients with alcohol and other drug concerns,” Mus said. 

Lives Lived Well’s Mackay based programs are free to access and they are a not-for-profit organisation. 

“Support is available. We have a no wrong-door policy, so if you, your family, or someone you know needs help or has questions about alcohol and other drugs, you can contact Lives Lived Well on 1300 727 957,” Mus said. 

Another local organisation drugARM Mackay sees over 690 clients per year, with alcohol being the substance causing the most harm to individuals and families. This is followed by ice and cannibis, then ecstasy and cocaine – so-called party drugs. 

Prescribed medications are also a concern as a substance of harm in Mackay. Drug ARM case worker Doris Scholten said the organisation takes a holistic approach to addressing alcohol and other drug issues. 

 “Our specialists deliver services informed by current best practice and operate within the bio-psycho-social, harm minimisation and recovery frameworks. Each service is tailored to meet the needs of each individual, family or community to bring about positive change. 

 “Drug ARM offers a continuum of care through what is known as a ‘stepped care model’. 

 “Our provision of service allows for an integrated care plan, partnering with local health, community and social networks to ensure clients can access the support they need. 

“I believe that helping clients starts with a good relationship between the client and the worker. A good rapport is vital to build the trust and safety that leads to open and honest dialogue. The client must feel comfortable and have established a trusting relationship with the worker, knowing that they are not judged and that the service is confidential."  

Doris said that if you are having problems with substance abuse, be assured there is help available. 

“My message is that you don’t have to do it alone,” she said. “Whether you are concerned about your own substance use, or the substance use of someone you know, there is lots of help out there from people who understand. Use the available supports like Drug ARM.” 

Information about their services can be accessed by calling the DrugARM Intake and Information Line on 07 3620 8880 or visiting drugarm.com. au. If you want to learn more, you can chat to their local team on 07 4944 1173. 


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