Programs to prevent harm from drugs

The number of minors in Southern NSW who have tried alcohol and cannabis is above the state average, but this was not unusual for regional areas. 

Alcohol and Drug Foundation senior community development officer Amy Ehsman, who works in Southern NSW, made the comment, saying it could be the result of fewer entertainment options in rural areas as well as more of a drinking culture. 

But she said alcohol and other drugs could affect any community.

“[A]lcohol consumption rates in minors continues to decline in Australia and minors are abstaining from alcohol for longer,” Ms Ehsman said. 

She wanted to acknowledge the work the Bega Valley has done to increase the proactive factors around alcohol and other drugs in the region.

This was evident at a grass roots level, she said, such as in the three different programs run in the region. 

The Local Drug Action Team, one of 170 across Australia, was the newest program in the region and was in a phase of community consultation. 

The Bega Valley Community Drug Action Team has been running a youth camp for the last 10 years, working with youth to work towards solutions for their concerns.

Also, 27 sports clubs in the Valley were part of the Good Sports program, which was designed as an alcohol management program as a way to change the drinking culture in clubs.

It has expanded its focus to include mental health and nutrition, as well as information on legal and illegal drugs.

Ms Ehsman said as one in four people were involved in a sporting club, it was a good venue to reach people with information on issues around alcohol and other drugs. 

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation works to prevent harm from alcohol and other drugs in Australia.

“Through programs running in the Bega Valley we continue to support sporting clubs, local clubs, organisations and services,” Ms Ehsman said.

“We encourage anyone interested to become involved.” 

Picture: Supplied

Picture: Supplied

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