New Flying Doctor service gets up off the ground in Cobar

The Royal Flying Doctor Service’s Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) program is now up and running in Cobar. Newly appointed Cobar staff, drug education and drug councillor Lloyd Brooks and community engagement worker Laura Ah-See, met up with other RFDS AOD staff members from Dubbo and Broken Hill for an education and clinical support meeting in Cobar last Wednesday.

Alcohol and other drugs abuse is a growing problem in Western NSW, as is the lack of counselling and treatment options outside of the major cities.

In response the Royal Flying Doctor Service, South Eastern Section (RFDS SE) is expanding its existing Alcohol and other Drugs (AoD) program to see three AoD outreach services established in Cobar, Dubbo and Broken Hill.

This follows a successful joint tender with Lyndon, an independent organisation with 30 years of experience in the field, for the provision of AoD services to Western NSW.

The program is being funded through the Western NSW Department of Health’s Primary Health Network for an initial period of 18 months.

A 2013 national survey found that just over 40 per cent  of Australians either smoked daily, drank alcohol in ways that put them at risk of harm or used an illicit drug in the previous 12 months; 3.1 per cent engaged in all three of these behaviours.

People living in remote and very remote areas were twice as likely as people in major cities to smoke daily, drink alcohol in risky quantities, and use meth/amphetamines in the previous 12 months.

The RFDS SE will be responsible for managing the day-to-day service delivery of the new AoD program.

Lyndon, who already offer specialist outreach, detox and rehabilitation programs throughout NSW, will provide program oversight, training and clinical supervision.

Lloyd Brooks, who has a background in health promotion and counselling, recently moved from Bundaberg in Queensland to take up the Drug Education and Drug Councillor/Clinician role in Cobar.

Laura Ah-See, who has lived in Cobar for the past five years and most recently worked in the area of mental health with Flourish Australia, is the program’s new Community Engagement Worker.