CGLLEN and partners form Ararat’s Local Drug Action Team.
A coalition of community groups around Ararat has launched a survey to measure the region’s concerns around alcohol and illicit drugs.
The Ararat Local Drug Action Team will use the results of the survey to help create a new four-year action plan on substance abuse.
The survey will be open until July 15 and all responses will be kept strictly confidential.
Organisers said they had received a large amount of responses in the first few days of the survey, which they believed to show how serious the issue was to the Ararat region.
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Grampians Community Health (GCH) project coordinator Anna Greene said the survey would also measure personal experiences with alcohol and drugs across all age groups.
“We’re trying to gauge where our community sees there is need for early intervention,” she said.
“At this stage a lot of the feedback we are getting is around illicit, non-prescribed drugs.
“There’s a lot coming in around alcohol.”
Ms Greene said alcohol was still the biggest single concern in the region, followed by illicit drugs.
Prescription medication abuse had not increased significantly in Ararat, despite experiences in other regions.
The hard copies of the survey will be available via GCH Ararat office, Central Grampians LLEN and the bush nursing centres at Elmhurst and Lake Bolac.
The survey can also be completed online by following this link.
Central Grampians LLEN executive officer James Skene said his organisation was involved because he wanted to prevent young people from taking up illicit drugs.
“One of the issues in Ararat is a lack of activities for young people, which can lead to encounters with drugs,” he said.
“Young people are also considering some types of drugs as a cheaper alternative to alcohol, and they never know what substances they might get sold.”
This article was first published in The Ararat Advertiser, written by Rex Martinich.