Drugs: Rehab crucial
POLITICAL PARTIES EMPHASISE NEED FOR CORRECTION SERVICES
BOTH the major political parties and the Greens have rehabilitation as a core election policy on drug use.
While increasing penalties for drug dealing or trafficking, all parties acknowledged the benefits of rehabilitation in reducing the impact of alcohol and drugs.
Hope Community Services in Armadale offers free alcohol and drug rehabilitation services to its clients in WA.
Jim Hauraki, regional manager for metro services, said rehabilitation was highly effective.
“Communities need to be involved in identifying and being part of the solution and there are many effective service models in the community.”
Pledging $94 million, Liberal will fund 85 additional, metro and regional, rehabilitation hospital beds, compulsory rehab facilities and prison-based drug treatment programs.
Labor, focusing on methamphetamine or ‘ice’ use, promises $45 million for treatment facilities including two new clinics in rural and remote areas, two rehabilitation prisons and reallocation of funding from prison-based drug therapy to post-release supervision.
Rates of meth use in WA are twice the national average; alcohol and cannabis above average.
“The WA Meth Strategy for 2016 tells us that for the period 2013 to 2015 there was a 40.8 per cent increase in amphetamine-type arrests by police,” Mr Hauruki said.
Hope collects its own statistics and found 50 per cent of their clients from January to December 2016 listed methamphetamine as their primary drug.
“That’s just those who said it was their first drug of choice,” Mr Hauruki said.
“There’s another percentage of that for whom it’s their second choice, using it once a fortnight but drinking alcohol most of the time.”
Despite Hope’s base in Armadale, traditionally known as a low-socioeconomic area, Mr Hauruki said drugs did not discriminate.
“Drugs don’t have any boundaries, you could see the guy on the top floor of the tallest building having a pipe at lunch.”
The only difference was the ability to access services, and motivation.
“Our clients are more likely to attend our services in a crisis, they’ve hit rock bottom or they’ve been sentences and had no choice.”
“What we do know is the issue cannot be addressed in isolation,” he said.
Jim Hauraki, regional manager for Hope Community Services, says rehabilitation is highly effective.