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Council Launches Drug And Alcohol Strategy Plan

Bass Coast Shire Council launched its Drug and Alcohol Strategy Plan today.

By Bass Coast Shire Council - 7th September 2001 - Back to News

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Bass Coast Shire Council launched its Drug and Alcohol Strategy Plan today. The Plan identifies a range of actions that will:

  • Promote higher levels of community awareness of drug and alcohol related issues
  • Improve access to appropriate counselling and treatment support services
  • Improve support for rehabilitation of former drug users
  • Promote prevention and early intervention.

The Plan was devised by the Bass Coast Drug and Alcohol Strategy Working Party, which was chaired by Inspector Ken Lay from Victoria Police. The Working Pary included Councillors, Council staff, local health providers, youth workers, students and community representatives.

Cr. Miranda Sage, Mayor of Bass Coast Shire Council, explained that the Working Party’s role was to determine the existing substance abuse in Bass Coast Shire and prepare a draft "Action Plan" for consideration by Bass Coast Shire Council.

"The working party finalised the Bass Coast Shire Drug and Alcohol Data report in February," said Cr Sage. "They used the findings in this report to devise strategies to tackle the affects of drugs and alcohol within the municipality and to minimise the social, emotional and physical harm caused by them."

Cr Sage said that some of the actions had already started, such as establishing a mobile display information unit. Other specific actions are scheduled over the next four years and many will be on-going.

"Actions in the strategy plan focus on ensuring people are well informed about drug and alcohol related issues, and involve all sectors of our community in helping to combat problems related to drug and alcohol," said Cr. Sage.

"The Drug and Alcohol Strategy Plan is very important for the people of Bass Coast because it provides a fremework for practical action by Council and other service providers to minimise harm and educate the community."

"The Strategy Plan has been devised in direct response to data and information from our community," said Cr Sage.

Key findings of the Drug and Alcohol Data report indicates that Bass Coast Shire has:

  • a high alcohol consumption rate – higher than the state average and the highest within Gippsland
  • a higher alcohol outlet density per capita than Victoria as a whole and the highest in Gippsland.
  • a high rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions - higher than the state average and second highest in Gippsland
  • a high percentage of deaths caused by smoking (16.2%) – above the state average and second highest in Gippsland. Between 1993 and 1996, of the total 973 deaths in the Shire, 157 were due to smoking and 25 to alcohol.
  • a low level of needle and syringe distribution – the second lowest in Gippsland, with 2043 syringes distributed in 1999.
  • a low rate of return of used syringes – the second lowest in Gippsland with only 38 (1.9%) of the 2043 returned and significantly lower than the state return rate of 48.9%.
  • a higher than state average rate of assaults in public
  • the least number of unnatural deaths within Gippsland Health Region between January 1995 and February 2001, the majority having "accident" recorded as the cause of death.
  • the third highest number of unnatural deaths resulting from drug and alcohol related causes in Gippsland
  • a low rate of drug and alcohol related hospital admissions – the second lowest when compared with the Gippsland Health Region and Mornington Peninsula. Of the 368 admissions between July 1987 and June 1999, 60.9% were female, 45.7% were aged between 25 and 44 years and 40.2% of these were recorded as having occurred at "home". 150 were recorded as "suicide:/poisoning:/drugs".
  • a higher percentage than the state average of respondents in the Local Safety Survey identified evidence of alcohol use/people affected by alcohol as reasons for feeling unsafe in particular locations.


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