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The Federal government has announced funding of $556,000 for a North Coast Relapse Prevention Aftercare Service to be run by the well-regarded, not-for-profit organisation The Buttery.

The aim of the program is to support people who have been treated for alcohol and/or drug dependence, including prescription opioid dependence, and could relapse if not appropriately supported.

The North Coast Primary Health Network has identified that relapse prevention is a neglected service area in the treatment of alcohol and other drug misuse, noting that while GPs often treat patients recovering from alcohol and/or drug dependence, more complex, psychosocial factors that put people at risk of relapse can require specialist program, particularly in the first 12 months following treatment.

The Service’s expert team will develop personalised plans designed to empower people to find lasting recovery. Individualised support includes:

Announcing the funding package, Federal MP for Page Kevin Hogan said funding for this initiative was part of a four-year government investment to deliver drug and alcohol treatment services across the country. It runs until 2020.

“We are committed to reducing the often devastating impact of drug and alcohol misuse on individuals, their families and communities,” Mr Hogan said at the Lismore launch on 10th December.

NCPHN Chief Executive Julie Sturgess said, “People are at especially at risk of relapse within the first year of treatment and The Buttery’s program will provide much needed coordinated care during this time. We anticipate that at least ninety people and their families will benefit from the Relapse Prevention Aftercare Service.”

Buttery CEO Leone Crayden said the service will provide support for people aged 18 to 65 who are being managed by a GP or those who had been discharged from inpatient treatment and/or rehab services.

“Our service is effective because it partners with other services to advocate for and support our clients’ needs. It connects people with social, housing, legal, education and employment services to provide more stability in their lives and reduce the risk of relapse.

“Recovery focuses on helping clients to understand their own strengths and needs, engaging in an active life, having a positive sense of self and establishing meaning and purpose in life,” said Ms Crayden.

The service is free, confidential, and available across the Tweed, Byron, Lismore, Ballina, Kyogle, Richmond Valley, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey, Nambucca and Port Macquarie-Hastings Local Government Areas.

Access to the service can be via local health and support workers, or individuals can contact the service directly on 0400 705 101 or (02) 6687 1658.