Victoria’s third largest city is a location with plenty of issues with drugs and alcohol. Not only are illicit substances such as amphetamines and ecstasy common but drunken violence also occurs frequently. Being a smaller urban location, there is also a lack of proper rehab facilities for those who want to break free from addiction, forcing them to look elsewhere for treatment.
The Courier writes that drug offences in the city increased by 38.4% from 308 to 426 from 2012 to 2013. This makes it the sixth highest drug spot in Victoria with regards to trafficking and possession. Methamphetamines are a big problem although police officers are stumped as to why there is a higher percentage in regional rather than metropolitan regions.
Police have implemented a range of programs to curtail drug use and possession. For instance, Ballarat constables were recently part of a state-wide program targeting drug driving as reported by The Courier. Police hope to test 100,000 motorists across the state by October this year.
Police in the nearby town of Stawell arrested four people in a fluke chain of events, The Stawell Times writes. After intercepting a car on the Western Highway, officers discovered copious amounts of drugs and cash in the vehicle. The couple driving the car were arrested and, when interviewed, revealed that the drugs were for a buyer in Ballarat. This led to two more arrests.
A number of other cases have occurred in Ballarat over the years. The Sydney Morning Herald writes about a local pizza shop owner who was charged with selling $37,000 worth of amphetamines and ecstasy over 12 months. He was sentenced to two years in prison. ABC News also mentions a drug dealer who harassed a woman at the Rainbow Music Festival in Lexton. He was charged with assault, drug possession and trafficking.
When it comes to heavy drinking, Ballarat has some serious problems. ABC Newswrites that police arrested 60 people in the CBD as part of a crackdown on drunken violence. Arrests led to 48-hour bans from local pubs and bars for each individual. With hundreds of police out and about, the overall message was to have a good time without interfering with anyone else’s fun while doing so.
A six-month lock out trial has also been tested according to ABC News. This experiment improved behaviour in local pubs and on the streets. As well as a 2.30am lockout, alcoholic shots were banned after 1.00am. This program aimed to reduce violence and anti-social behaviour related to alcohol. Although results were positive, there are those who want further restrictions. Liquor Accord gives one example: two councillors who led a charge to ban further new liquor outlets from opening in Ballarat.
Despite these somewhat high statistics for drug and alcohol use, The Courier reports that there is a severe shortage of residential withdrawal beds within Ballarat. This means users have to travel further to Melbourne or Geelong and facilities which may also have long waiting lists. There is one bed which services the Grampians region at the nearby Bacchus Marsh and Melton Regional Hospital, plus there are a few home-based programs although these are typically full as well.
The government-funded Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO)provides a single entry for drug treatment for Ballarat locals through its Intake and Assessment Service. The organisation also runs a community program offering mental health services to those dependent on drug or alcohol. Another choice is using the mental health services at Ballarat Health which offer referrals, community services, inpatient services and family programs.
As noted before, Ballarat residents are looking elsewhere to get treatment for substance abuse and dependence. Rather than looking in Australia where rehab can be expensive and waiting lists are long, we recommend getting help in a country like Thailand where costs are lower. Serenity Rehab is found Chiang Rai, Thailand and offers therapy for a fraction of the price that you would find in Victorian drug and alcohol centres.
Thailand also offers the chance to recover in a completely private environment. This is important for those in a small town like Ballarat where news travels fast. Simply book a session at our facilities and fly off on your road to a more balanced life. Flights from Melbourne take 11 or 12 hours depending on where you transfer. We will send a driver to pick you up on arrival too, making your trip to our rehab centre even easier.