From the SMH, 19 January 2011:
The NSW opposition has pledged $10 million to boost rehabilitation services for drug and alcohol problems in an election promise they say will help an extra 5000 people.
NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell on Wednesday announced the four-year funding promise, which would see government and non-government rehabilitation services tendering for the additional funding.
"This program today will enable an additional 5000 people to get treatment, to get assistance to get off their treatment, and will have the added benefit of relieving pressure on emergency departments, on acute beds in hospitals, which too often, because of the lack of these services, are filled up with those who suffer addiction," he said.
The Salvation Army's Clinical Director of Recovery Services, Gerard Byrne, said the funding would help organisations like his meet the growing demand for help.
"For a long time we and other organisations such as ours have struggled to meet the demand for services," he said.
"The provision of such a good quantum of funds to provide a sustainable and viable financial basis on which we can then provide our services is very welcome."
The NSW state election will be held on March 26.
But Darren Marton, director of The No-Way Campaign and independent upper house candidate at the upcoming poll, expressed disappointment that funds had not been committed to prevention services.
"Don't get me wrong, I'm all for rehabilitation, but I think our focus and direction should be first and foremost on prevention," he said.
"Trying to turn around a generation over the next couple of generations to make drugs not as prevalent as they are."