New funding for alcohol and drug programs

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Health minister Greg Hunt has announced $268 million in support for Australians battling alcohol and drug issues.

The funding over three years from 2019-20 to 2021-22 will be provided to Primary Health Networks (PHNs), providers of residential and non-residential withdrawal management and rehabilitation programs, alcohol and peak drug organisations and other national activities already supported by our Government.

The PHN's will receive $45 million a year from 1 July 2019 for alcohol and other drug treatment services. Withdrawal management and rehabilitation services currently receiving Government funding can apply for a share of $29 million a year in continued funding. Four national research centres will receive $24 million over three years to continue research into alcohol and other drug issues while funding of $4.9 million a year will continue for alcohol and peak drug organisations.

This announcement provides continuity of important drug and alcohol treatment and support services and complements state and territory funding.

As a new initiative, our Government has committed $7.2 million over 2 years to pilot a take-home naloxone (THN) program in Australia. 

Naloxone is a drug that can temporarily reverse opioid overdose. 

In partnership with the States and Territories, a THN program will expand the availability of naloxone to a range of additional settings frequently accessed by at-risk groups.

Concurrent to the pilot, the Commonwealth has provided over $100,000 funding to the Burnett Institute to undertake research, with the National Drug Research Institute, into the key principles and features of a nationally consistent THN model in Australia.

The findings of this research will complement the ‘on the ground’ findings of the pilot, which will enable the THN model to be refined to a national rollout.

Communities can be hit hard by substance misuse. Its effects are felt deeply and can continue for years. 

Alcohol and drug misuse doesn’t just affect the person. It affects families, friends and the surrounding community. 

We know that people impacted by alcohol and drugs need to be able to access appropriate support when and where they need it. This funding will help provide this access.