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YSAS welcomes Victoria-first drug reform

YSAS welcomes the Allan government’s Statewide Action Plan to reduce alcohol-related harm, including the appointment of Victoria’s first Chief Addiction Advisor.

YSAS CEO Andrew Bruun said the plan demonstrates the government’s commitment to making evidence-based harm reduction policy and treatment available to those who most need it.

“A targeted, youth-specific and developmentally appropriate response to problematic substance use could not come at a more critical time. Young people are doing it particularly tough – they’ve lived through the pandemic and are now facing a cost-of-living crisis, further entrenching social disadvantage.

“YSAS supports over 5,000 young people each year with residential rehabilitation, drug and alcohol treatment, specialist advice and community-based outreach, and we’re seeing more and more demand for our services.

 “At the last Victorian state election, we strongly advocated for boosting the Youth AOD Outreach workforce in Melbourne’s urban growth corridors and regional Victoria to address urgent needs and, most importantly, create a pathway to drug and alcohol treatment and wrap-around supports. It’s encouraging that this call was heard and reflected in yesterday’s announcement.

“Our young people deserve every opportunity to learn from their experiences and develop well. Our focus is on reaching out to young people and families and intervening early to prevent involvement in harmful drug use and the criminal justice system,” Bruun said.

YSAS congratulates the premier and state government on announcing nation-leading drug reform initiatives, including a hydromorphone trial and expanding access to life-saving opioid overdose-reversing Naloxone vending machines in Melbourne’s central city. We hope to see this rolled out across the state. 

Addiction medicine experts and advocates widely accept that pharmacotherapy like hydromorphone treatment and harm reduction measures such as needle and syringe programs, Naloxone and the best-practice Never Use Alone user support hotline are an effective response to opioid-dependence and preventing drug-related overdose deaths.

Ends 

About YSAS (Youth Support + Advocacy Service)

The Youth Support + Advocacy Service (YSAS) is Australia’s largest, youth-specific community service organisation. Operating since 1998 as Victoria’s flagship Youth Alcohol and Other Drug service, YSAS now employs over 340 skilled staff across 19 sites in metropolitan and regional Victoria. While the prime focus of YSAS remains on effective Youth AOD treatment and sector leadership, the organisation also has extensive experience in providing young people and families with services that support improved mental health and improve meaningful community participation.

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