Comments Off on Methamphetamine drug rehabilitation center needed in South West

There is a need for a drug rehabilitation facility in the South West because of the damage methamphetamine is having in the community, WA Mental Health Minister Helen Morton says.

She said the potency of the drug and frequency of its use was to blame for the strain on services, rather than the number of users.

“The information and statistics tell us that the use of amphetamine-type substances has been declining across Australia and WA since 1998, but there are changes to way that people are using it and this is seeing an increase in the harm being felt by an individual, by a family or by a whole community,” she said.

“There are more people going to emergency departments, there are more people going to hospital as a result of methamphetamine and the rate at which they are seeking treatment is increasing.

“We seeing increased harm in the community but it is not the result of more people using the substance.”

But the South West Community Drug Service said there was no doubt the number of addicts was increasing in the region.

“We’ve seen methamphetamine use increase exponentially along with other drug use across the region,” manager Nicolle Warren told the ABC.

“Whilst we’ve seen an increase in people presenting with this drug, it’s also the complexity of the client presentation that has an impact.

“We have a seen a 10 per cent increase in the last 12 months but in terms of numbers it’s important to note that many people come to us as requirement of the court system.

“Often there are people out using in the community for a long time before they get to service such as ours.”

Ten years ago the service treated just over 100 people for methamphetamine addiction, but so far this year it has treated 176 people, many of whom have returned several times.

“We have also seen a significant increase in number of family members or significant others of an individual struggling with methamphetamine, calling in at their wits end wondering how to support them,” Ms Warren said.


Relocation to Perth needed for treatment

There are no residential rehabilitation or detoxification facilities in the South West, and only one residential facility in the Great Southern, in Esperance.

Ms Morton said some people preferred to relocate to Perth for treatment.

“Some people actually prefer that, they see that as a way of moving away from their environment in which their drug problem is a factor,” she said.

But Ms Warren said having to move to Perth could deter people from seeking help, which could mean addicts lost public housing or jobs.

“It would be wonderful to think that clients could remain in their own local hospital and community,” she said.

Ms Warren said waiting times in Perth for long-term rehabilitation were six to eight weeks and two weeks for short-term detox services.

“We would refer, on average, probably two to four people per a week to the detox facility in Perth,” she said.

Palmerston drug rehabilitation facility in Perth said it had half the beds needed to keep up with demand, and there was currently an eight- to 12-week wait to receive treatment.

Ms Morton said the waiting time was not good enough, and more rehabilitation facilities were being considered.

“We know we need a dedicated Aboriginal-specific residential rehabilitation service in the south of the state,” she said.

“We also know that the South West region is an area that needs approximately an additional 36 beds across the board for residential rehabilitation.”

Ms Morton said this proposal was part of a new plan for drug services to be considered by Government in the next few weeks.




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