Ex-addict says rehab center is needed in Southland

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David Simpson wants to know why people from Invercargill should go to Dunedin for services directly related to alcohol or drug cessation.

Kavinda Herath/Things

David Simpson wants to know why people from Invercargill should go to Dunedin for services directly related to alcohol or drug cessation.

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A Former Heroin Addict Says Invercargill Needs A Drug Rehabilitation Center To De increasing number of alcohol and drug users in Southland.

Helping a family member through a drug addiction, David Simpson said the counseling available in town was “like a band-aid”.

It wasn’t enough, he said.

Addicts needed someone to monitor them as they went through withdrawal symptoms, he said.

The nearest managed recording service is two hours away in Dunedin.

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There is a South Island detoxification unit at Hillmorton Hospital in Christchurch, and Southlanders are paid for travel expenses if they need it.

There are 10 residential rehabilitation and rehab facilities on the South Island in Christchurch, Dunedin, Blenheim and Timaru.

Simpson believes that addicts need a safe place to stay with medical care on hand during withdrawal, due to the physical effects of the substance leaving the body, and counseling helps if they have a clear head.

โ€œAddiction has no race, it has no background. It affects everyone and there is nothing here for these people. These are real people. It makes me so angry.โ€

Louise Travers, general manager of mental health and addictions for the Southern District Health Board, said the board was almost done with a: independent assessment of the Southern Mental Health and Addiction System that would guide decisions in the future.

For the majority of patients, support in their community was effective enough to fight addiction, she said.

Robyn Edie / Stuff

Jamie Addison from Milton is a former meth addict and gang member who raised his hand in the fight against the drug. He says more options for addiction treatment are needed in the lower South Island. [First published in August 2018]

Funded options

Simpson sent an official inquiry to the Department of Health asking about funded detox services in the South Island and how long people waited to access these services.

During the year 2019/2020, the South Island Ministry and DHBs funded:

  • 7 Medical Withdrawal Management (Drug Detox) Beds in Christchurch and Dunedin
  • 7.6 social withdrawal beds (detox without medication) in Blenheim, Christchurch, Timaru and Dunedin
  • 2.5 FTE to support people undergoing withdrawal treatment in Nelson/Marlborough and Dunedin
  • 4.5 FTE under managed withdrawal support network in Nelson Marlborough DHB, Canterbury DHB, South Canterbury DHB, Southern DHB and the West Coast DHB

The Southern District Health Board is funding a medical rehab bed at the Ashburn Clinic in Dunedin, administered by the Ashburn Hall Charitable Trust.

The majority of government-funded shelter beds in the South Island are provided in Christchurch by the Canterbury District Health Board (6) and Christchurch City Mission (6).

Between April 2019 and March, on average, just over 40 percent of the 2,733 patients who sought help from DHBs or non-governmental health care providers in the South Island waited more than three weeks for treatment.

Travers said that apart from the specialized service of the southern DHB, there was a lot of help available in the community from social agencies, GPs, support groups, online resources and national helplines.

Many patients seeking help also had co-existing mental health problems, and the complexity of these circumstances meant that they might have to be hospitalized, where they would likely go through a withdrawal process and receive medical treatment to support it. said.

But for the majority of patients, support in their community was effective enough to fight addiction, Travers said.

Jamie Addison is a former drug addict and gang member from Milton who now works as an addiction counselor in prisons.

Jamie Addison says managed alcohol and drug withdrawal should be carefully monitored.  There are no facilities for this south of Dunedin, he says.

Robyn Edie / Stuff

Jamie Addison says managed alcohol and drug withdrawal should be carefully monitored. There are no facilities for this south of Dunedin, he says.

He was calls for increased support for alcohol and drug users since 2018 and believed that the fact that someone else was speaking meant that the cry for help was still there.

Addison praised the service providers operating in the lower South Island but said it was difficult for them to meet everyone’s needs.

โ€œIn general, I think it’s important that people have the opportunity [of withdrawal management]’ said Addison.

Ben Birks Ang, deputy director of the NZ Drug Foundation, said New Zealand needed more alcohol and other drug aids, but was not convinced that residential rehabilitation care was the best choice.

โ€œIn exploring what is needed for Southland, we need to look at the range of support needed and design a mix of services,โ€ he said, โ€œโ€ฆtaking into account that residential care is more expensive and serves fewer people .”

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