$14.9 million in 2016-17 State Budget to reduce demand for meth
Extra 60 dedicated meth rehabilitation and withdrawal beds
New frontline drug support nurses plus State Ice Helpline
- Builds on WA Meth Strategy which aims to disrupt meth supply and reduce demand
The State Government will establish an extra 52 dedicated rehabilitation beds and eight low-medical withdrawal beds across the State for people addicted to meth, with funding allocated in the 2016-17 State Budget.
Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell said the new beds added to the existing 356 residential rehabilitation beds for people with alcohol and other drug addictions.
"Families are crying out for more help to get their loved ones off this drug and this funding will provide extra residential rehabilitation and withdrawal services," Ms Mitchell said.
The funding is part of a $14.9 million boost over two years to the Mental Health Commission's Budget to combat demand for meth. It includes:
- $9.8 million for an extra 60 beds dedicated to methamphetamine users - eight low-medical withdrawal and 52 rehabilitation beds - and expanded community-based prevention and treatment services
- $2.29 million for more frontline drug support nurses in emergency departments
- $533,000 towards a pilot specialist methamphetamine clinic to provide rapid assessment, early intervention and treatment, including outpatient withdrawal, within the Next Step Drug and Alcohol Service in East Perth
- $1.65 million to expand prevention initiatives $304,000 for dedicated WA Ice Helpline providing free counselling and referral services.
Treasurer Mike Nahan said meth supply and use was a major issue for the community.
"The Liberal National Government is committed to a co-ordinated cross-agency approach, which includes the Mental Health Commission, WA Police, Department of Education and the Department of Corrective Services. The Government's full response is outlined in the WA Meth Strategy," he said.
Dr Nahan said that in 2016-17, a further $5.5 million would be put into roadside alcohol and drug testing, $250,000 would fund a meth-specific school resource pack. He said more than $11.6 million over two years would be directed to treatment and rehabilitation services for prisoners.
"The funding builds on the work being undertaken by WA Police to disrupt the supply of the drug into the community," he said.
Deputy Premier and Police Minister Liza Harvey said WA Police had experienced a 40.8 per cent increase in amphetamine-type stimulant arrests between 2013-15, and disrupting the supply of the drug was a key priority for the Government.
"WA Police have already put in place the WA Police Meth Enforcement Action Plan, which fits under the Government's broader WA Meth Strategy," Mrs Harvey said.
"This involves having dedicated meth teams to target dealers and conduct searches of trucks and vehicles, new laws to target those who set up clandestine labs, increased roadside drug testing, and seizing cash profits from meth sales.
"The extra $5.5 million in the State Budget to boost roadside testing puts meth users on notice that they will be caught if they get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs."
The Department of Education is focusing on educating children about the dangers of meth use with the Mental Health Commission providing a further $250,000 to School Drug Education and Road Aware to develop more meth-specific education resources and programs for school children.
The Department of Corrective Services will spend more than $11.6 million over the next two years on a range of drug and alcohol intervention and treatment services to help rehabilitate the high number of prisoners with meth and other drug addictions.
Ms Mitchell said meth took a heavy toll not only on users, but also on families, the community and frontline services such as emergency departments.
"Giving families faced with the devastating effects of this drug a way forward is a priority for this Government. Western Australia has one of the highest rates of meth use in the country - this needs urgent attention," she said.
"Meth users in crisis need early access to effective interventions to minimise the risk of their use."
Ms Mitchell said the Mental Health Commission had also done considerable work in developing a proposal for an involuntary rehabilitation program and the Government had started examining legislative options to enable the proposal to progress.
The Treasurer said combatting meth use required a co-ordinated effort by Government agencies, local and Australian governments and the private and not-for-profit sectors.
"The new measures unveiled in the State Budget complement the work already underway within our WA Meth Strategy and the Australian Government's ICE action plan," he said.
Police have experienced a 40.8% increase in amphetamine-type stimulant arrests between 2013-14 and 2014-15
The amount of meth seized in WA has increased significantly from 122.7kg in 2013-14 to 276.2kg in 2014-15
Meth use in WA is higher than the national average with 3.8% of the population over the age of 14 years using the drug compared to 2.1 per cent nationally
Treasurer's office - 6552 5700
Mental Health Minister's office - 6552 5400
Deputy Premier and Police Minister's office - 6552 5900