BENDIGO Health is tackling ice head-on after receiving funding in last year's State Budget.
Last year, Bendigo Health's emergency department received an extra $500,000 from the Victorian government to help it better respond to drug and alcohol-affected patients.
Bendigo Health was one of 21 emergency departments across the state to receive four-year funding under the government’s Reducing the alcohol and drug toll: Victoria’s plan 2013-2017.
“Bendigo Health was pleased to receive funding in last year’s State Budget to employ a dedicated drug and alcohol resource in our emergency department," chief executive John Mulder said.
"The funding was used to employ a full-time nurse who works with patients presenting to emergency with drug and alcohol issues.
"These patients are then connected with appropriate services for further treatment.
"In addition, the staff member has been running training sessions for emergency department staff to teach them the skills they need to manage aggressive patients and to maintain a safe working environment within the department.
"Drug and alcohol abuse continues to be an issue within our community and we encourage people to take responsibility for their health and well-being and to seek help when they need it."
Mr Mulder's comments came on Monday after the state government announced a $34 million boost to drug and alcohol-support services.
Bendigo will not directly benefit from the funding which will target the Gippsland, Grampians and Hume regions as well as outer-metropolitan suburbs.
But Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge said the money would help facilitate the expansion of early intervention programs state-wide.
“The Coalition Government is addressing the misuse of alcohol and use of illicit drugs with a comprehensive strategy involving more police, expanded health services and systemic reform of alcohol and drug treatment services,” she said.