A new resource developed to help Illawarra's CALD communities overcome drug and alcohol issues is set to be rolled out statewide.
The short film, to be officially launched later this month, has been produced by the Illawarra Cultural and Linguistically Diverse Local Drug Action Team.
Spokeswoman Bertha Quiros said while research indicated that the use of alcohol and other drugs was generally lower in CALD communities compared to the general population, this was not always the case.
Alcohol, marijuana and prescription medication were among the drugs of concern in the region's CALD groups; while crystal methamphetamine or ice, was a growing concern.
"Drug and alcohol issues may emerge in newly arrived communities as the stress of settlement, unfamiliar cultures and the pain associated with loss and with past experiences may lead to negative feelings, depression, anxiety and loneliness," she said.
"Some CALD communities are potentially at increased risk of experiencing drug or alcohol related harms if they find it difficult to adjust to a new cultural environment, where especially alcohol is much more widely available."
Ms Quiros said the Illawarra drug action team was a partnership between the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and several multicultural organisations.
"In a lot of CALD communities, drugs and alcohol issues are not widely spoken about - these issues are largely taboo and seen as shameful," she said.
"So it's difficult for people to admit they have a problem, and they often don't seek help early enough. We want to try and work with them, and offer information, advice and support, at an early stage so issues don't escalate.
"This new film, we hope, will make the issues more accessible and encourage more people to seek help."
The film has been translated into several languages including Arabic, Farsi, Mandarin and Swahili - and there's plans for further translations.
The new resource has also seen the team selected as a finalist in the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Awards, with the winner to be announced on September 2.
The film will be launched at Warrawong's Gala Cinema on August 20, in the lead-up to Multicultural Health Week. Call 1300 652 226 for more details.
"We believe that everyone should have equitable access to key health services, when and if they need it," Ms Quiros said.
"A large part of this is knowing what services are there to support you and how to contact them."
The Local Drug Action Team program is part of the Australian Government's investment of $298 million over four years under the National Ice Action Strategy.
The Illawarra team was selected to be funded in 2018 as part of the third round of that program, which is run in partnership with the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.
"Supporting communities to be at the heart of the solution is critical if we are to address alcohol and other drug-related harm," foundation CEO Dr Erin Lalor said.