This disease has a devastating impact on individuals, their families and loved ones and the Community. Politics has been interfering in treatment using vote winning slogans such as “War on Drugs” without taking any affirmative action based on the experiences and expertise of workers in the Industry.
[expand title=”More”]I and many others who have worked in the Treatment Industry for many years have never been asked to get involved in any policy development to help sufferers from Alcoholism/Addiction. Instead we go to high profile names and some “professionals” who haven’t a clue about treatment, interventions, detoxification, rehabilitation programs or long term supports. We have to ask why? Is it that we simply want to avoid the question? Is this the too hard basket – the impact is measurable and has been measured numerous times over the years. The first notable time being a Senate Select Committee, who produced a document “Drug problems in Australia – An intoxicated Society” (1977). But other than the spruiker, usually a politician trying to collect votes, nothing has changed (sadly) in Australia. The impact of Alcoholism/Addiction on our day to day lives has not changed. Alcohol and Drug problems remain the major health problem in Australia.
Alcohol use in Australia has apparently declined – but most of the information we get is filtered and focused on young people. There are clearly concerns about hazardous drinking that we as a community, should be aware of. That said it is estimated that approximately 15% of the adult population (male and female approximate ratio 3:1) suggests that conservatively, we have 9,000,000 people in the age range of 24 – 55. If the figures are accurate and only 15% of those people drink daily – then we have a figure of around 1.4 Million people and if only 10% of those people are alcoholics, then clearly we have a problem!
These figures recognise that daily alcohol consumption is hazardous giving Australia the dreadful prospect of long term health, social and economic problems directly related to hazardous drinking. We don’t consider that cost in our discussions. It appears to be part of our community denial process.
The figures we are discussing here are about alcoholism only – the figures for other drugs of addiction will clearly make an impact!
In Australia there are about 800 treatment services. It sounds like a lot of treatment beds for the number of alcohol affected persons in Australia. Services will acknowledge that many treatment episodes using those service beds will be for poly drug users (including alcohol). Anecdotal evidence suggests that alcohol only treatment interventions have reduced. Each of the services will give stories and information about the sheer weight of numbers putting those services, which are often under-resourced, under pressure. If we are to make an impact on Alcoholism / Addiction in Australia, much more needs to be done. If we equate the impact of Alcoholism / Addiction in economic terms – the cost on the health system, the welfare system, the correctional system ……………………….. !!!!!!
ADIN promotes itself as a resource directory – be patient with this site it is somewhat cumbersome – https://www.adin.com.au/