Last week Parliament debated a bill about the ongoing licensing of a medically supervised safe injecting room in Melbourne.
Disappointingly the Andrews Government voted down amendments moved by The Nationals to ensure these injecting rooms are not located in the vicinity of schools, unlike the current facility in North Richmond.
I had the opportunity to speak on the bill and took the chance to outline the addiction issues facing regional communities.
I am sure everyone is of the belief that we need to do more to support people battling addiction and that we need new solutions to difficult problems.
Right across regional Victoria the rate for ambulance attendances relating to substance use is significantly higher than in Melbourne, likewise for hospitalisations and alcohol and other drug treatments.
In last year’s budget we saw cuts to drug treatment and rehabilitation services and mental health support services.
There are few people who have not been touched by addiction, be it personally or someone you love.
We need greater investment in regional alcohol and drug support. I hope May’s budget sees these cuts reversed and a much needing funding boost for regional healthcare and addiction support.