More calls for SE rehab centre

Meeting: Among those at the Limestone Coast Living Clean gathering last week are Tania Garrod (left), Jody Harrison and Kate Amoroso.
Meeting: Among those at the Limestone Coast Living Clean gathering last week are Tania Garrod (left), Jody Harrison and Kate Amoroso.

A Naracoorte-based drug and alcohol focus group has a new name and a new resolve to campaign for improved addiction facilities and services in the region.

Limestone Coast Living Clean has been formed from members of local drug and alcohol support groups wanting to streamline their focus into one body.

At a meeting of the group last week, vocal drug and alcohol services campaigners Kate Amoroso and Karen Judd led the call for a permanent drug rehabilitation centre to be re-established in the region.

They agreed that the former Karobran Wellness Centre near Naracoorte, which closed its doors after nearly 30 years due to excessive debt in 2015, was ideally situated to be reopened as a rehab facility.

“Karobran is the biggest push at the moment,” said Ms Amoroso. “But it comes down to money, $650,000 we would need. The government is not prepared to buy it.”

LCLC members asked about potential options such as a church or community group running the centre, but again the financial issue was raised.

Several members of the group are former students of the centre or have intimate knowledge of its operation, and explained how it previously functioned and how it might be run in the future.

Ms Judd, whose son Jay died after a long battle with drug addiction in 2010, was in no doubt that Karobran and more centres like it were needed.

“We need the government to have rehab centres across rural Australia, we didn’t get any help from any services for Jay all the time he was addicted, the only help he got was jail,” she said. “I’ve taken over 150 calls from people on this, they want something to happen.”

Ms Amoroso said the best thing people could do to achieve progress on re-establishing a rehab centre in the region was to write and apply pressure to politicians.

“There’s a state election in January, so we need to put pressure on government and the candidates,” she said.

Ms Amoroso herself has not ruled out running as a candidate for Nick Xenophon’s SA Best party at the next election.

Mr Xenophon has been outspoken on fighting the scourge of illicit drugs, particularly ice, and was part of a public forum with Ms Amoroso and fellow campaigner Belinda Valentine in Naracoorte in December.

RELATED: Click here to read about why Karobran closed in 2015