A $10 million pledge for a new drug detox and rehabilitation centre in Dubbo has been welcomed as a major step towards addressing the harm illicit drugs are doing in rural NSW.
Local Government NSW president Linda Scott said the NSW government's announcement of the $7.5 million facility, plus $3 million from the Commonwealth, was a positive outcome.
"Harmful drug use is a growing issue in the regions and has resulted in over-representation in the legal system because of a lack of diversionary programs outside the metropolitan area," Cr Scott said.
Councils had been lobbying for greater NSW government investment in detox and residential rehabilitation and treatment programs as alternatives to incarceration, she said on Tuesday.
"Funding in the area of rehabilitation is critical. The Special Commission of Inquiry into the drug ice earlier this year recommended a particular and urgent focus on expanding alcohol and other drug treatment and rehabilitation facilities across NSW," Cr Scott said.
"Councils have been calling for state and federal funding support to help address the critical shortage of medical specialists in the regions, which is an essential element in efforts to address drug-related health issues."
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the drug and alcohol treatment centre would be the first of its kind in the central west.
"This centre will genuinely change lives for those people living in our regional communities who have been directly or indirectly affected by the impacts of substance abuse," Mr Barilaro said.
Hospital data shows that between 2013-14 and 2016-17, the rate of methamphetamine-related hospitalisations in western NSW for people aged 16 years and over more than doubled.