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Voice of Real Australia podcast episode six: Dubbo's fight for drug court; Cobargo almost a year on from Black Summer bushfires

Dubbo rehabilitation and detox centre announced

In Dubbo, drugs are everywhere. The crisis here has brought with it mental health struggles, homelessness, family violence and crime that is only getting worse.

Rick and Carolyn Lean lost their son to suicide two years ago after a long battle with addiction and mental health issues. Photo: Kellsey Galea

Rick and Carolyn Lean lost their son to suicide two years ago after a long battle with addiction and mental health issues. Photo: Kellsey Galea

At the moment, drug users in Dubbo brought into court often wind up in a vicious cycle of addiction and despair which is difficult to escape. Jail is not the best place for them. But it is often the only option for magistrates.

This week the NSW government committed to funding a local rehabilitation and detox centre in town. It is something locals have been petitioning for for decades. However, there was no mention of a corresponding "Drug Court".

The specialty court would give magistrates more options when sentencing eligible drug addicted offenders.

At this point, it's unknown whether a drug court is coming to Dubbo.

Ann-Maree is a recovering addict, she says "you can't punish someone to get better". Photo: Zaarkacha Marlan

Ann-Maree is a recovering addict, she says "you can't punish someone to get better". Photo: Zaarkacha Marlan

We speak to people affected by the drug crisis in Dubbo who believe more needs to be done to give people the help they need.

For Cobargo, Black Summer isn't over

Photo of Cobargo posted to Facebook on December 31 by Josh Mead.

Photo of Cobargo posted to Facebook on December 31 by Josh Mead.

Some in Cobargo are still reeling from fires which tore through the Far South Coast town nearly a year ago.

Moreover, the tight knit community has truly felt the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, further compounding their grief.

We speak to people in and around Cobargo, to hear the story of the months since a terrible blaze changed their town forever.

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This story How one city is trying to tackle its drug problem from within first appeared on Daily Liberal.