‘Some substances are so addictive they should never even be experimented with. Ice is one of those substances.’
So says Dr David Outridge, a GP of 20 years and now working full-time in addiction medicine, who will be presenting ‘the ice seminar’ to Port Stephens in the new year.
In a joint initiative with Port Stephens CDAT (Community Drug Action Team), Dr Outridge will introduce a series of substance addiction seminars, providing his insights into the link between drug use and mental health.
CDAT’s community support worker Paul Pearton will co-facilitate the sessions.
There will be three sessions – the first to be conducted at the All Saints Anglican Church in Nelson Bay on Friday, February 15, and the remaining two at the Salvation Army church in Raymond Terrace on March 7 and 8.
Times are 5-8pm and sessions are free.
Newly appointed CDAT liaison officer Rob Hoile said that the seminars would be aimed at health professionals including doctors, nurses, pharmacists as well as family and friends of victims of substance abuse and addiction.
”CDAT has undertaken a number of changes in recent months but we are now in the process of rolling out a series of programs in the hope of providing support to families impacted by drug and alcohol addiction,” Mr Hoile said.
“There tends to be a shortage of support services in regional and rural areas and Port Stephens definitely fits that category.
“One of our primary objectives is to create a grassroots support network for families affected by drug and/or alcohol abuse and establish support groups such as Smart Recovery, Smart Family and Smart Youth.
“It is also part of CDAT’s agenda to help youths displaying at-risk behaviours.”
Mr Hoile said that discussions would continue with groups such as COPSY (Caring for Our Port Stephens Youth) and TYCA (Tomaree Youth Community Action) with the aim of serving a wider cross section of the Port Stephens community.
Dr Outridge said that substances have a profound impact on the functioning of the reward systems within the brain.
“The impact of this can affect an individual’s ability to control behaviours and impulses. And these impacts can have a pronounced effect on the progression of dependence, the potential of treatment outcomes, and the development of long term mental health issues,” he said.
Anyone struggling with drug addiction or mental health issues, Samaritans has drug recovery programs and varying mental health services available by contacting the Newcastle office on 4960 7100 (Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm).
For crisis support and suicide prevention phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.