Drugs: Re­hab cru­cial

PO­LIT­I­CAL PAR­TIES EM­PHA­SISE NEED FOR COR­REC­TION SER­VICES

Comment News (Gosnells) - - State Election '17 - So­phie Moore

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.

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