Following the successful launch of the Fair Treatment campaign on October 12th 2019, Uniting and the Uniting Church commenced the journey from Dubbo to Sydney to highlight the need for more drug and alcohol treatment facilities in regional NSW.
Leading the first leg of the “The Long Walk to Treatment” was a Dubbo local, Shantell, who faces a journey of 400 kilometres – “half a million steps” – to find specialist drug rehabilitation treatment in Sydney. “It’s only a few steps to get drugs in Dubbo”, she says, “but very hard to get treatment.”
The long walk, which was documented for a film called Half a Million Steps and will premiere at the Synod 2019 Living Church on 5 July, shows the road ahead for compassionate drug law and policy reform to saves lives and build treatment options.
Half a Million Steps follows a baton carried by 100 walkers from Dubbo to Sydney in October 2018. Those who took part in the walk included people directly affected by drug and alcohol addiction, experts in medical, legal and treatment fields, members of the Church and staff of Uniting.
Inside the baton was a heartfelt open message to the Premier from Uniting Church Moderator Rev Simon Hansford – calling on the NSW government to take personal drug use out of the realm of criminality and make effective treatment accessible to people struggling with problematic drug use.
The 90-minute documentary was produced by the Uniting Church and Uniting as part of its “Fair Treatment” campaign for reform. Uniting is leading this campaign following resolutions passed by the Church at the Synod meeting of 2016.
Beautifully filmed among the stunning landscapes of central NSW, across the Blue Mountains and into Greater Sydney, it was directed by Dominic Streeter and narrated by Dr Marianne Jauncey, the Medical Director of the Uniting Medically Supervised Injecting Centre at Kings Cross.
In addition to a premiere screening at the 2019 Synod meeting,
Half A Million Steps will be premiering in Sydney and Dubbo on the following dates:
- Palace Cinema in Paddington Sydney on 13 June 2019 (RSVP here)
- Dubbo RSL on 14 June 2019 (RSVP here).
To register to host or attend a screening, go to www.fairtreatment.org/walk/
Pictured: Walker Shantell Irwin and Dubbo Mayor Ben Shields cut the ribbon to start the Long Walk.