Date PostedNovember 1, 2013

Drug and Alcohol Treatments in WA on the rise: State Government urged not to Downgrade Services

For RSA staff who take their duties seriously one of the worst things to hear is that alcohol abuse is on the increase.

As responsible servers of alcohol we play a vital role in ensuring that alcohol is enjoyed responsibly by our customers and by consumers in our state by adhering to Responsible service of Alcohol rules, one of the most important being the need to refuse alcohol to unduly intoxicated patrons. Sadly despite our efforts, alcohol abuse in some parts of Australia is on the rise.

A recent article on Yahoo’s news site claimed that drug and alcohol treatments were on the rise in WA.

This can be taken as positive or negative news because on the one hand it is alarming that alcohol and drugs are being abused to such an extent in WA but then again at least it is a good thing that people are seeking help for their problems by attending drug and alcohol treatment centres and calling into hotlines.

Health experts in WA have warned the state government not to downgrade any drug addiction services. According to the latest figures clinics are having to deal with more alcohol and cannabis problems that ever before and parents are also making use of the service to ask questions regarding their children.

According to the State Government’s Drug and Alcohol Office annual report treatment between 2012-2013 rose 16 per cent to almost 33,000. Sobering up clinics were also inundated with 28 per cent more admissions which numbered at more than 15,000.

Hospitals in the state were also bombarded with alcohol related admissions which rose a staggering 40 per cent between 2007 and last year, according to the report.

The 24 hour Alcohol and Drug Information Service hotline and the Parent Drug Information Service also received substantially more calls, in fact the number of calls related to cannabis doubled in the last five years. This post from explains:

a_020312genclaremont1_19498p9-19498pgThe report said WA’s rate of risky drinking was higher than the national average and though fewer children drank alcohol, those who did consumed more.

Curtin University professor of health policy Mike Daube said the figures heightened concerns about the State Government’s planned merger of the DAO with the Mental Health Commission and argued it was crucial neither lost funding.

Mental Health Minister Helen Morton announced five months ago that the two agencies would amalgamate to improve prevention and treatment services.

She said the sectors had a big overlap, with studies showing half those with mental illness also had a drug or alcohol problem.

DAO chairman Gary Geelhoed, WA’s chief medical officer, said services were under increasing pressure and it was vital the office continued its work.

“We need to know the resources will be available so we can minimise the harm from drugs and alcohol, particularly at a time when there is a surge in alcohol promotion and higher levels of binge-drinking in young people,” he said.


According to the professor the time to downgrade is not now especially when you consider the number of parents that are concerned about alcohol and drugs. Even the Australian Medical Association expressed its concerns about the merger and said that people seeking medical help through the 2 sectors may become confused.



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Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning, OH&S training, and web strategy firm based in Little Edward St. Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia. Urban E-Learning provides compliance related online , Distance and Face-to-Face training products in the construction, hospitality and heavy vehicle transport sectors, to name a few. Examples include the White Card Construction induction course and the RSA - Responsible Service of Alcohol course. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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