Page MP Kevin Hogan, North Coast Primary Health Network's Elizabeth Davis and the Buttery's Krystian Gruft and CEO John Mundy announcing an innovative new outpatient rehab program for drug and alcohol abusers.
Page MP Kevin Hogan, North Coast Primary Health Network's Elizabeth Davis and the Buttery's Krystian Gruft and CEO John Mundy announcing an innovative new outpatient rehab program for drug and alcohol abusers. Claudia Jambor

'Innovative' program takes rehab to in-need communities

A NEW drug rehab program to be piloted in the Northern Rivers was praised by North Coast experts as the first of its kind in NSW.

From May 1, the North Coast Primary Health Network together with The Buttery Rehabilitation facility will roll out its Community-Based Rehabilitation (CORE) program in a circuit format around the region.

The outpatient program offers free, medium-intensity rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abusers over a six-week period with the initiative to rotate between Byron Bay, Lismore and Tweed Heads in the next 12 months.

Buttery CEO John Mundy announced the program launch at the drug and alcohol support centre yesterday with NCPHN representatives, health care workers and Page MP Kevin Hogan.

Mr Mundy said CORE coordinators would work closely with a group of about 15 people for five days a week during school hours.

Through community-based delivery, CORE coordinator San Hickingbotom said the new initiative would help capture those demographics, such as single mothers, that fall through the gaps in accessing rehab programs.

"Ice as we know has very much a high relapse rate so for people who are struggling to manage in the community,” Mr Hickingbotom said.

"People will be living in the community, surrounded by their triggers and their stresses, by all kinds of challenges.

"That's part of out program is to work with that lapse.”

Mr Mundy cited poor transport around the region as a key reason to deliver the program to at-risk communities.

"We will be moving this program around from population centre to population centre, it's better than the alternative of not having a program at all.”

CORE head coordinator Krystian Gruft, described the "very innovative program” as a buffer step for those on the road to curbing their addiction to alcohol and drugs, such as ice.

"It's all part of the learning process, they are living in the real world they aren't removed from challenges from work stuff, from family stuff,” Mr Gruft said.

NCPHN's Elizabeth Davis highlighted the initiative acts as a backbone of support to help develop strategies for participants to manage addiction triggers.

Mr Hogan said the Federal Government's contribution of an estimated $1.5 million would enable the program will run over the next four years.

"We are under no illusion this isn't a big issue,” Mr Hogan said.

"There is a commitment to keep rolling over the funding.”



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