The Victorian Early Intervention Pilot Program (VEIPP) is a youth alcohol diversion program, aimed to assist younger people at risk of alcohol abuse.
The program is a pilot project between Victorian Police, Department of Health, Eastern Access Community Health and Turning Point Alcohol and counselling and diversion programs to prevent ongoing criminal convictions.
The City of Maroondah was chosen as the location for the pilot program due to alarming trends that have emerged with teen drinking within the municipality. While these trends are concerning, it is encouraging that the Police and other organisations are taking a proactive role in trying to reverse these trends.
This morning I accompanied Kieran Walshe, Deputy Commissioner of Victoria Police and Dr Karleen Edwards, Executive Director, Mental Health, Drugs and Regions Division of the Department of Health, in launching the Victorian Early Intervention Pilot Program.
The speech delivered during the proceeds is included within this post:
Welcome to the City of Maroondah for the official launch of the Victorian Early Intervention Pilot Program (VEIPP). We are honoured to have been selected as the Victorian pilot site for this exciting youth alcohol initiative.
In the spirit of Reconciliation, we acknowledge that we are meeting on land for which the Wurundjeri people have been custodians for many centuries, and on land which the Indigenous Australians have performed age old ceremonies.
We, Maroondah City Council, accept, respect and have shared with the Wurundjeri people in their customs of welcome.
The Wurundjeri people support the coming together of all people, respecting their individuality to focus on a unified and cohesive nation.
The City of Maroondah is located approximately 25kms to the east of Melbourne. The estimated population of the City of Maroondah is 105,000, with young people accounting for approximately 14 percent.
Alcohol is the most predominant drug of concern, particularly amongst young people. Of the seven municipalities in the Eastern Region, Maroondah has one of the highest alcohol-related harm index. Additionally, the City of Maroondah has the second highest level of alcohol-related injuries.
Risky drinking amongst young people is a major concern with 22.7 percent of secondary school students in the municipality engaging in binge drinking. The harms associated with drinking at risky levels include:
- Harm to personal health/wellbeing;
- Sexual assault;
- Public violence/assaults/disturbing the peace/public nuisance;
- Damage to property;
- Road traffic accidents;
- Medical and social costs to the community; and
- Reduction of amenity of open spaces through litter, inappropriate behaviour etc
Maroondah City Council recognises the impact of alcohol-related harms on the community and is thus committed to advocating for, and supporting, the development and implementation of initiatives that address these concerns and reduce the impact of alcohol use in public spaces.
The council seeks to undertake an active role in improving the health and well being of our residents and business community by supporting the collaborative development of programs that engage and develop the resilience of young people in our community.
Raise community awareness of tobacco, alcohol and other drug issues through the support of effective and targeted education programs and information dissemination strategies.
The City of Maroondah welcomes the partnership between Victoria Police and the Department of Health, and the local service providers. We encourage the community to embrace this program, as we believe the initiative has the ability to make a difference in the lives of young people in our community.