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Drug and alcohol abuse remains a serious problem in Victoria.
Statistics from the Australian Drug Foundation revealed that there was an 88 per cent increase in ice related ambulance attendances in Melbourne during 2012-13 compared to the previous year.
These incidents increased by a staggering 198 per cent in regional Victoria during the same period.
Alcohol abuse is also on the rise with a 25 per cent increase in Melbourne and a 30 per cent increase in regional Victoria during 2012-13.
These statistics suggest that there is need for more qualified people in the community services area to support people suffering from substance abuse and mental illnesses.
AGB Training Community Services training consultant Denis O’Brien has more than 20 years’ experience working in the mental health and drug and alcohol field.
He is a psychiatric nurse with qualifications in community health, advance psychiatric nursing and training and assessment as well as certificates in counselling and therapy.
In terms of training in the field of community services, Denis noted that many of his students have previous first-hand experience of substance abuse and mental illnesses.
“I have met people in these courses who have experienced drug and alcohol addictions first hand, whether the student has personally, or know a friend or family member who has.
“Their experiences are really insightful and it helps to gain a further understanding of the journey they go through,” he said.
AGB Training Community Service student Alice is one of these students.
“I chose this course because of my experiences.
“Growing up my mum was an alcoholic and suffered from mental illnesses.
“I then left home early and was involved in a bad relationship which was also affected by drugs and family violence.
“I just want to give back and help others going through the same things because it’s a really hard time,” Alice said.
She is studying AGB Trainings Dual Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs/Mental Health, a course that Denis said was very important in bridging the gap between these two serious issues.
“About 80 per cent of people who have an alcohol or drug addiction also suffer from some form of mental illness or vice versa so this course helps to recognise the link between substance abuse and mental health issues,” he said.
AGB Training offers a number of nationally recognised pathways in community services.
Anyone who would like to make a difference in the lives of those battling substance abuse and mental health can phone 1300 123 242 for more information.

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