A new four-year $1.2 million non-residential rehabilitation program will help Warrnambool and surrounding district people to beat their ice and other poly drug problems.

The Great South Coast Drug Treatment Consortium and its lead agency WRAD will operate the pilot program based in Warrnambool.

The therapeutic day program has been funded as part of the Victorian Government’s Ice Action Plan. It will be officially launched at the Warrnambool Community House from 7-9pm on September 23.

Titled `Sliding Doors’, the free six-week program is a recovery-based model offering a broad range of interventions in group settings to address psychological, social and physical wellbeing.

WRAD Director Geoff Soma said it would be a more intense program than existing outpatient services available in the Great South Coast to help people deal with issues related to ice and poly substance abuse.

“The pilot program is being introduced based on a need in this region identified by the government,” Mr Soma said.

It is one of nine programs funded in Victoria and the first of its type in the south-west.

‘Sliding Doors’ Program Coordinator Angela Alexander said the new service was for people who had made a commitment to stop using their drug of concern.

“It is an intensive support program  designed to help develop coping skills, while providing  people with ICE and other poly drug use problems recovery and relapse prevention strategies,” she said.

“It will focus on varied therapies, job and employability skills, healthy living opportunities, relaxation and drug education.”

Participants will also take part in a community garden project  supported by a grant through MI Fellowship  for Mental Health Week.

“We are taking a collaborative care approach linking with existing services and we’ve already received a huge amount of support from other service providers and the community,” Ms Alexander said.

She added that the program would help people to maintain motivation and to provide the skills required to stop their substance abuse.

The initial pilot will be based in Warrnambool providing a local response  and will be starting in October.

Two new staff members have been employed as group facilitators in the new service.

Sliding Doors features flexible intake procedures and all referrals will be initially assessed by ACSO Connect by contacting 1300 022 760.