The Gladstone Local Drug Action Team, or LDAT as we call ourselves, is a collaboration between Gladstone Mindcare, Lives Lived Well, Roseberry Qld, Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN, Family Drug Support, Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service (Gladstone Integrated Service) and community members. Funded by the Australian government through the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, we work together using local knowledge to deliver evidence-informed alcohol and other drug harm prevention and minimisation activities in our community.
In 2019, the Gladstone LDAT supported Tannum Sands State High School to deliver the Climate Schools program. The eight week program was delivered to Year 8 and 9 students, combining online and classroom activities to reinforce messages and encourage student interaction around the harms associated with alcohol and drug use. Climate Schools is an evidence-based program through the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use at the University of Sydney.
We will soon be launching our next activity – Recovery Forward: a lived experience peer leader initiative. Over the next 12 months we will establish a workforce development program of individuals with lived experience. The participants of this program will undertake a Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work, with alcohol and other drug electives and develop a cohort of peers to connect, share experiences, and model best practice for the alcohol and other drug peer workforce.
Lived experience workers are an invaluable member of a team. They provide a unique perspective to support people on their recovery journey. They provide an example of hope and that recovery is possible; practical assistance with recovery through the purposeful use of their own experience; and a person-centred, humanistic approach that compliments the clinical approach of other members of a team. In supporting individuals with lived experience to gain the necessary skills and qualification, they will be able to facilitate peer groups with at risk people to increase their knowledge of the harms of risky drinking and drug use and promote recovery.