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Tuesday, 3 June 2003
Page: 15841

Mrs DRAPER (9:24 PM) —On Thursday, 22 May 2003, I had the pleasure of participating in the launch of the DRUG-ARM Street Outreach Service in my electorate of Makin. DRUG-ARM stands for Drug Awareness and Relief Movement. It is a national non-government, non-profit, drug and alcohol agency founded upon basic Christian principles. When the South Australian coordinator of DRUG-ARM, Ms Bianca Moerman, met with me last year to tell me about the fantastic work this agency was doing in Adelaide's southern suburbs, she told me that DRUG-ARM were hoping to do the same in the Tea Tree Gully area in my electorate of Makin.

The insidious problem of illicit drug use is making victims of too many young people. I doubt there would be a single community in this country that does not have a drug problem. The use of illegal drugs such as marijuana, heroin and cocaine is not confined to the poor, the young, the homeless or any particular social group. Parents should not make the mistake of believing their children to be immune from the lure of such mind-bending substances, especially when some elements of popular culture weaken the message of the dangers of taking such drugs. To these dangers we must add alcohol abuse, which has long been a problem in many communities. The age at which young people are first experimenting with drugs is decreasing. Some people may have the mistaken belief that their child is safe at least until they reach the teenage years, but the facts tell us that the use of illegal drugs and alcohol is growing among primary school children. I believe that we can work towards fighting this and this is why I strongly support the Tough on Drugs strategy adopted by the federal government on the direction of the Prime Minister. The message of Tough on Drugs is clear: we, as a community, will not stand by and see our young people destroy themselves.

The Street Outreach Service, which DRUG-ARM will operate in my electorate, will serve as a mobile referral, aid and support centre to reach out and assist those members of our community who are homeless and in danger of being addicted to legal or illegal drugs. The service will operate from a mobile van with the aid and support of volunteers as well as paid staff. They will go to where their clients are, which means going out late at night and in the early hours of the morning and finding these poor people who are in need of much guidance and assistance.

I want the House to know of the support that DRUG-ARM has received, through sponsorship, from one of South Australia's leading companies, the San Remo Macaroni Company. I want to particularly acknowledge Mr Aldo Crotti, the managing director, who actually sponsored and paid for the mobile van himself. Such corporate generosity demonstrates a strong commitment to our community and is a fine example for others to follow.

The House should also note the work that has been undertaken by Ms Bianca Moerman, who is an extraordinary young woman, to bring this project to fruition. The dedication of this young woman to helping those most at risk from drug addiction is truly an inspiration to the community. The problem of drug addiction must not be seen as a problem only for those who are addicted. That has never been the Australian way. By working together as a community, through programs like the Street Outreach Service, we can win this battle and save lives. I commend the efforts of Bianca and her team and I commit myself to doing all that I can—including volunteering to go out at night with them so that I can utilise my skills from my former career in nursing—to help ensure that DRUG-ARM's good work in my electorate is a success.

Question agreed to.