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Media Release by The Hon Sussan Ley MP

Australian Government’s Tough On Drugs Strategy Is Paying Dividens

A new federally funded residential treatment facility in regional Victoria, will help the Australian Government’s Tough on Drugs Strategy, to further reduce illicit drug use, the Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth Affairs, the Hon Sussan Ley, said today.

Mrs Ley said the Circuit Breaker Program at Odyssey House’s Tullamoor Park facility, near Benalla, was one of a number of recent initiatives funded by the more than $1 billion Tough on Drugs National Illicit Drug Strategy.

“The Circuit Breaker Program is Odyssey’s first regional facility in Victoria to help people whose lives are facing ruin due to alcohol and drug problems,” Mrs Ley said.

“It provides an eight bed, short-term residential treatment facility for between six to eight people suffering severe alcohol and drug problems, especially those who have been unable to change their lives through other treatment options.

“Circuit Breaker provides time out in a residential unit; structured daily activities to re-establish a normal and healthy daily routine; counselling and other support to make positive changes in drug related behaviour.

Mrs Ley said ongoing support is provided following the residential phase of the program.

“The Howard Government is providing $595,000 over two years under the National Illicit Drug Strategy’s Non Government Organisation Treatment Grants Programme to support the Circuit Breaker Program for people living in the Hume region.

“This Strategy is the most comprehensive and extensively funded illicit drugs programme ever conducted in Australia and it is also the most successful.

“The 2004 National Drug Household Survey showed a decline from 16.9 per cent to 15.3 per cent in the proportion of the population who had used an illicit drug in the past 12 months between 2001 and 2004.

“Odyssey House has been Victoria’s largest provider of residential drug treatment for more than 25 years and also receives $1.65 million funding to assist the children of drug addicted parents under the Strengthening Families measure of the Drug Strategy which will expand its brokerage services into Tasmania and the ACT.

“The Prime Minister also announced last week that Odyssey will receive $666,000 from money confiscated from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to fund a Short Term Engagement Programme in Frankston, south east of Melbourne,” Mrs Ley concluded.