Online and phone support services for people experiencing drug and alcohol problems will receive an additional $6 million from the Australian Government during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funding will be provided to support the following services:
- $2 million to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation to deliver an information and awareness campaign to make Australians aware of the support that is available, and to develop resources specific to the isolation context.
- $1.5 million to Turning Point to scale up treatment episodes provided by Counselling Online, and enable better integration of the service with primary care providers.
- An additional $1.5 million to Hello Sunday Morning’s Daybreak Program. Daybreak is a treatment and early invention mobile app that provides online support to individuals seeking assistance in reducing their alcohol consumption. The service helps Australians reduce risky drinking habits by simultaneously addressing the psychological and relationship issues that can sometimes drive drinking in the first place.
- $0.4 million to SMART Recovery to support adaptation of their service delivery model to an online format.
- $0.6 million to the Matilda Centre to support enhancements to Cracks in the Ice and Positive Choices portals, to target Australians impacted by isolation. Cracks in the ice provides information about crystal methamphetamine (ice) for community organisations. Positive Choices is an online portal to help school communities access accurate up-to-date drug education resources and prevention programs.
In addition, the National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (NOFASD) Australia will deliver a COVID-19 Alcohol and Pregnancy campaign addressing increased alcohol consumption leading to unplanned alcohol-exposed (FASD) pregnancies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign will be implemented largely via social media and target women impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, particularly social isolation and quarantine.
The funding will be provided urgently to allow online and phone counselling, and information services to meet additional demand caused by isolation and social distancing measures.
Online and telephone counselling have been proven to be effective in reducing reliance on alcohol and other drugs. They are important components of the treatment spectrum, particularly when opportunities for face-to-face counselling and rehabilitation are reduced.
The funding will also provide a range of information and resources to help individuals, friends and families with drug and alcohol concerns, and to provide important prevention messages.
This funding, to be rolled out by 30 June 2020, is in addition to more than $800 million over four years already allocated by the Australian Government to drug and alcohol programs. This funding is helping to build safe and healthy communities by reducing the impact of drug and alcohol misuse.
If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s alcohol or other drug use, contact the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015, or visit drughelp.gov.au.