Comments Off on Advice on tackling the Methamphetamine ice epidemic in Australia

Nationally, twice as many people are using the drug ice than compared to just a few years ago, and while Victoria is at the forefront of dealing with the problems associated with the abuse of methamphetamine we’d do well to learn from the experiences of our cousins across the Tasman. In 2009 New Zealand introduced a comprehensive drug strategy plan to deal with the issue, and it’s become something of a good example local health and justice authorities would like to see picked up here in Australia.

The latest data shows that crystal methamphetamine (ice) use has doubled in this country in recent years, and it’s becoming far more common in rural and regional areas.

While heroin use is declining, especially in regional areas where it is far less available, ice usage has dramatically risen and it’s now found in areas that heroin never got to, according to John Ryan, CEO of the Penington Institute.

Country communities are being inundated with demands for help and frontline health services in regional areas are being stretched.

Despite the calls for help from affected families, and dire warnings from health and justice system authorities, little seems to be happening to tackle the ice epidemic in Victoria – aside from information and education forums, and an advertising campaign launched in September asking 18-25 year olds ‘What are you doing on Ice?’

Drug and health experts are saying that so far, the announcements by both sides of politics in the State election to this crisis, have been piecemeal and underfunded, and have ignored evidence of what works – in particular the coordinated police and health strategy in New Zealand.

Indeed, social workers and drug counselors, frustrated by funding delays, say Australia has fallen at least five years behind New Zealand, which has seen a 50 per cent reduction in methamphetamine addiction over the last five years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2014/11/26/4136550.htm

 

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