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Darwin presents a unique picture when it comes to drug and alcohol abuse. Due to its distance, poor governance and lack of infrastructure, consumption rates are fairly high putting heavy drinking and illicit substance abuse on the dangerous side too. As a smaller town, Darwin lacks the proper amount of rehab facilities to help those suffering from this vicious cycle of abuse and dependence.
There are plenty of illegal substances imported and produced in Darwin which are harming its social fabric. NT News writes about one of the weirdest: SnapChat. Named after the smartphone app, these ecstasy-based tablets hospitalised a number of Darwin locals in 2014. As well as making people seriously ill, the drug causes erratic and irrational behaviour, including aggression and disorientation.
The proximity to some of Australia’s largest Aboriginal settlements also means dealers attempt to smuggle drugs into these communities. Early in 2015, ABC Newswrote about 20g of cannabis found in a lamb pot roast checked into a flight to the Tiwi Islands. The lamb and the drugs were destroyed once found.
Ice is also a major problem in Darwin. In one of the more horrific cases, NT Newswrites about teenage girls offering babysitting services or selling their bodies in exchange for crystal meth. The number of 15 and 16 year olds taking the drug has increased over the years. ABC News writes that local police have asked residents to dob in a dealer to help combat the rising ice plague found in Darwin.
When it comes to excessive drinking, one doctor at the Royal Darwin Hospital named the city the Broken Jaw Capital of the World due to its high number of alcohol-related injuries, writes The Telegraph. Each year, 350 cases of broken jaws and noses are treated which comes to 17 per 10,000 population. The ABC News gives another example with two Darwin men killed in an automobile crash that police allege involved alcohol.
Since Darwin has such a problem with alcohol, a number of measures have been put into place. As The Australian reports, restrictions on the service of alcohol started in February 2014. Shots were banned after 1am and a four-drink limit was enforced during happy hours.
Another measure the government has taken to combat alcohol in Darwin is mandatory treatment for repeat offenders who are taken into custody because of alcohol abuse. The Northern Territory government says this is a harm reduction strategy which sees an individual go into treatment for up to three months. A range of development programs are offered during this time.
Despite these issues, Darwin doesn’t have too many government-funded initiatives to help combat addiction. One option is the Alcohol and Other Drugs Program which seeks to minimise harm related to these substances through prevention, education and treatment. Individuals and families living in Darwin can make use of these services.
The Employee Assistance Service Australia (EASA) also runs an Alcohol & Other Drugs program that provides education and counselling to those affected by alcohol and other substances. These sessions are meant to reduce harm associated with these activities and are customised to each individual. It is a government-funded program open to those living in Darwin.
Finally, the Council for Aboriginal Alcohol Program Services (CAAPS) is a service for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who suffer from substance misuse and abuse. It offers a number of services including a community outreach program, a volatile substance abuse program and the healthy families program. CAAPS is open to individuals, including children, as well as families.
These public offerings aren’t for everyone though, so what can the average Darwin local do? Private clinics based nearby can be expensive with long waiting lists and so we recommend looking overseas instead. The country of Thailand offers numerous great clinics such as Serenity which provide world-class rehab programs that are very affordable. A lower cost of living means you can gain treatment without putting pressure on your wallet.
Centres such as Serenity offer higher levels of confidentiality as well which can be a relief to those living in a small town like Darwin. Just fly off to Koh Samui where we are located and commence your path to recovery! Flights can take as little as 8 hours too with a brief stopover in Singapore. Our friendly staff will pick you up at the airport as well and take you directly to our private rehab facilities.