Alcoholics put on the banned drinkers register may end up in the emergency department with withdrawals or turn to sly groggers because of a lack of support services in the East Kimberley, according to a doctor in the region. Kununurra GP Stephanie Trust said there was a lack of support services in place ahead of the introduction of the BDR which is likely to see hundreds of people in the Kimberley prevented from buying takeaway alcohol. Under the new laws, which were expected to pass State Parliament at the time of publication, police will be able to place people on the BDR for alcohol-related offending. Medical practitioners, social workers and other prescribed people will also be able to apply to the Director of Liquor Licensing to put people on the register. In the East Kimberley there is currently no dedicated alcohol withdrawal centre. Wunan Health is setting up a six-bed facility to be called Kununurra Withdrawal Intervention Centre, however it won’t be open until July 2024 at the earliest. Instead people who need to detox from alcohol have to do so at home with the support of their GP, or go to Darwin or Perth to undergo both withdrawal and rehabilitation. Dr Trust said there were “limited” drug and alcohol support services in Kununurra, which include Wunan Health, Kununurra Hospital and Ngnowar Aerwah Rehabilitation Centre at Wyndham. “Those people really wanting to make sure they had access (to those services) they could go and see their GP but they would need to advocate for themselves to do that and I think part of the issue is patients trying to navigate that,” Dr Trust said. “Most people would probably end up in ED especially if the are having DTs (delerium tremens) or anything that means they are withdrawing from alcohol . . . which isn’t ideal.” The regional doctor is concerned a lack of drug and alcohol support services could lure people on the BDR to turn to sly groggers, with the thriving Kununurra black market selling cans of beer for as much as $50. “It’s a bit like bringing in a non-smoking policy without supporting smokers to have patches,” she said. Dr Trust said the banned drinkers register needed to be a part of a broader strategy to address alcohol harm if it was to be effective. “None of this harm minimisation stuff works on its own, it has to be part of a broader strategy. If you have someone on the register who can’t access alcohol and they might be withdrawing then you need to actually support them in that process. “At the moment those services are limited which is the whole point of why we want to set the Kununurra Withdrawal Intervention Service up,” she said.