THE announcement by Victorian Premier Denis Napthine yesterday that the emergency departments of both of the Wodonga and Wangaratta hospitals would receive $500,000 to help the cities’ fight against drugs, including ice, is most welcome.
Staff at these hospitals, along with police, are our front line when it comes to dealing with many with an addiction to alcohol and drugs.
Drug and alcohol-befuddled patients are a particular challenges to doctors and nurses with the unenviable task of caring for them or their victims.
The Wodonga and Wangaratta hospitals were among just six in the state to receive grants.
Their need had been starkly borne out by statistics showing Wodonga has had a 37 per cent increase in drug-related crime in four years with the jump at Wangaratta 28 per cent.
While the hospitals will determine how they spend the money, likely options include hiring an alcohol and drug specialist or further training for emergency department staff.
The grants are a positive step because there is no question hospital and emergency services professionals need support in their efforts to manage addicts and help us beat this scourge.