WA Government takes action on methamphetamine issues

The WA Government is getting on with the job of delivering its co-ordinated and integrated Methamphetamine Action Plan, bringing the total investment to $244.8 million to address methamphetamine issues in Western Australia, since taking office.

WA Premier Mark McGowan, WA Health and Mental Health Minister Roger Cook and WA Police Minister Michelle Roberts released the whole-of-government response to the Meth Action Plan Taskforce report – outlining a range of targeted, functional and practical initiatives that focus on prevention, early intervention, treatment and support, and law enforcement.

The $42.5 million package, as part of the 2019-20 State Budget that will form the implementation plan in response to the report, includes:

  1. More support for individuals and families in crisis – to expand and develop safe places for individuals and families in crisis.
  2. More help when and where it is needed – to provide more services where people require them, close to their homes and personal supports.
  3. More workers to provide support – to provide evidence-based training for health professionals working with people impacted by methamphetamine use and their families.
  4. More education, prevention and harm reduction – to ensure the continuation of targeted school and public education programs to reduce the uptake of methamphetamine use amongst young people, and encourage access to support for people at risk.

Additional Meth Action Plan initiatives as part of the $42.5 million package will include:

  • $4.83 million to establish a 10-bed crisis centre in Midland;
  • $200,000 towards planning for short-term safe places for compulsory critical intervention;
  • $200,000 to plan for the expansion of the award-winning Mental Health Police Co-Response model to regional areas and to include support for alcohol and other drug issues;
  • $9.2 million towards the development of a comprehensive alcohol and other drug youth service in the Kimberley – fulfilling an election commitment;
  • $2.34 million for four low medical withdrawal beds in the Kimberley;
  • $631,000 to expand the existing Transitional Housing and Support Program, which will assist an additional 20 people each year;
  • $20.1 million towards the North West Drug and Alcohol Support Program;
  • $914,000 for alcohol and other drug training for Aboriginal workers through the Strong Spirit Strong Mind program;
  • $614,000 towards alcohol and other drug training for frontline workers such as psychologists, social workers and counsellors;
  • $457,000 for the Meth Peer Education Program which focuses on harm reduction and health promotion;
  • $1.05 million for alcohol and other drug education programs in schools with a focus on at-risk students;
  • $1.52 million to expand the needle syringe exchange program in high-demand regional areas including the Great Southern and Bunbury;
  • $300,000 to expand the Hepatitis WA nurse-led program which supports GPs to provide brief interventions to meth users; and
  • $150,000 towards raising awareness of the community Needle Syringe Exchange Programs.

The WA Government has also invested an additional $21.2 million to the WA Police Force for the Meth Border Force which has led to record seizures and the disruption of criminal syndicates moving meth around the State.

Initiatives already underway as part of the Government’s Meth Action Plan include increased police roadside testing, additional treatment beds across the State, the introduction of mental health emergency centres, expanding the Mental Health Police Co-Response teams to four districts in Perth, delivery of WA’s first alcohol and other drug treatment prison – with a second facility in progress – and it has also introduced the toughest penalties in Australia for meth traffickers.

The Meth Action Plan Taskforce was commissioned by the WA Government to provide advice and recommendations on what more could be done to reduce methamphetamine demand, supply and harm. The taskforce’s report made 57 recommendations and highlighted the need for improved responses to the methamphetamine crisis in the community.

For free help, contact the Alcohol and Drug Support Line on 9442 5000 or 1800 653 203 (country).

Source: WA Government