Women alcohol drug ovedose on pills and heroin

$47,500 in new funding is set to help improve the response to the problematic use of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) among LGBTIQ people in the South Western Sydney region. Announced by federal MP for Hume, the Hon Angus Taylor, NSW’s leading LGBTI health organisation, ACON, was awarded the funding from South Western Sydney PHN (SWSPHN). The funding, provided over two years, will be used for two key activities for people from LGBTIQ communities in this area.

Firstly and primarily, the funding will be used to increase ACON’s capacity to provide counselling and other support services for LGBTIQ people experiencing problematic alcohol or other drug use. Secondly, these funds will also help ACON provide training for mainstream AOD services, to improve the inclusiveness of these services so they can better respond to the needs of LGBTIQ clients.

The SWSPHN catchment covers seven Local Government Areas of Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Campbelltown, Camden, Wollondilly and Wingecarribee.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill says the LGBTIQ community face a range of specific challenges in relation to substance use and identifying when use becomes problematic.

“While we know that most LGBTIQ people who use alcohol and other drugs do so in a non-problematic way, some experience significant harms related to their use. Helping our communities identify early signs of problems where they may need assistance with their AOD use requires sensitive messages. Handled appropriately, health promotion campaigns can assist our communities to check in and get support which in turn improves the overall health of our communities,” Mr Parkhill says.

“We know that LGBTIQ people can be reluctant to seek treatment because of concerns about prejudice and discrimination from support services. We warmly welcome funding for ACON’s specialist service to be able to reach more people in a community based setting – a setting we know our communities find approachable.

“It’s also important that we will also be able to work directly with AOD service providers to support LGBTIQ clients. This means that LGBTIQ people seeking support elsewhere within the PHN are more likely to receive appropriate care, which improves outcomes.

“We’re extremely grateful to SWSPHN for recognising the needs of LGBTIQ people and for providing this funding, particularly because it allows for a much needed boost to our client services provision.”

SWSPHN CEO Rene Pennock says that effective responses to AOD use are a priority for the organisation and this also includes a focus on LGBTIQ people.

“We recognise that drug and alcohol problems, and the people that experience them, are not homogenous. Drug and alcohol problems can cross many aspects of one’s life, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. To support our community we need to cater to their diverse needs and ensure the right services are available, at the right time, in the right place” Mr Pennock says.

More information on ACON’s support services

Source: ACON