Recently established Cannabis Clinics on the North Coast are providing a range of support to the increasing number of local people who are experiencing health and lifestyle problems as a result of their use of the drug.

The clinics are being operated by North Coast Area Health Service counselling staff in Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah, Mullumbimby, Nimbin, Ballina, Lismore, Casino, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Macksville, Kempsey, Port Macquarie, and at other locations by arrangement with clients.

“Cannabis (marijuana) is the most commonly used illicit drug in Australia, with approximately 33 per cent of Australians having used it at least once in their lifetime,” Area Director of Drug and Alcohol Services John Leary said.

“While recent population surveys indicate that regular use of cannabis is now decreasing, research has proved that there is a risk of developing a dependence on cannabis with regular use.”

The NSW Government funded four trial cannabis clinics in Sydney and the central west in 2006. 

The evaluation of these clinics has found them to be a successful model of treatment, and more clinics are now being funded around the State.

The North Coast clinics are mostly being provided in Community Health Centres in an effort to attract people into treatment who may not wish to attend drug and alcohol facilities. 

“The clinics will offer individually tailored treatment to people who identify cannabis as their primary drug of concern. This support will be based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT),” Mr Leary said.

“The clinics will also aim to identify any cannabis users with a mental health disorder and provide special assistance.

“Clinic staff members will also be available to offer brief advice and support to parents or carers of problematic cannabis users, as well as other service providers.”

Access to the Cannabis Clinics will be through a dedicated 1300 line (1300 664 098).

A trained health professional will ask the caller a few questions over the phone and provide them with an appointment time at the nearest health centre where clinics are held.

All contact will be on a confidential basis.