Psychologists’ group welcomes support for drug treatment

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The Australian Psychological Society’s (APS) Psychology and Substance Use Interest Group today welcomed the acknowledgement by Prime Minister John Howard of the value of alcohol and other drug treatment services. Mr Howard was commenting on the decision by AFL footballer, Mr Ben Cousins, to seek help for a substance use problem.

Ms Lynne Magor-Blatch, National Convener of the APS group said today, “As Mr Cousin’s father has acknowledged, problems related to substance use affect many families in our community. There is no one simple answer to the problem, but we do know from the evidence, that treatment works”.

The situation also highlights the issues that are currently being addressed by the inquiry into the impact of illicit drug use on families, undertaken by the House Standing Committee on Family and Human Services.

“Problems of substance use have a profound impact on families, with parents, siblings and friends often becoming caught up in the turmoil that substance use can create. In this case we are also seeing a huge flow-on effect, particularly as Mr Cousins is in the public eye. His decision to seek treatment is particularly brave as he is a role-model for many young people, and should be supported by the community”, Ms Magor-Blatch stated.

The APS Psychology and Substance Use Interest Group applauds Mr Howard’s support for treatment, and is calling on Mr Howard to increase funding for treatment places. Many people encounter difficulties in accessing help due to a lack of treatment places.

Ms Magor-Blatch further said, “While we support the Government’s attention to reduction of supply and law enforcement strategies, this should not be done at the expense of treatment. We believe there is currently an uneven distribution of funds, and ask the Government to consider the need for additional funding to treatment as a matter of priority”.

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For more information contact:

Lynne Magor-Blatch
National Convener
Psychology and Substance Use Interest Group
Phone: 0405 507 298