Min­is­ter: Drug test plan is vic­tim blam­ing

Hills Gazette (Kalamunda) - - NEWS - Lau­ren Pi­lat

A NA­TIONAL plan to drug test peo­ple re­ceiv­ing wel­fare is “vic­tim blam­ing” and doesn’t recog­nise com­plex is­sues ad­dicts have, WA Health Min­is­ter Roger Cook says.

Mr Cook to­day crit­i­cised the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed trial dur­ing the re­lease of the Metham­phetamine Ac­tion Plan’s (MAP) com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion re­port at Royal Perth Hos­pi­tal (RPH).

“My at­ti­tude is that it’s sim­ply vic­tim blam­ing and it doesn’t recog­nise the com­plex­i­ties of the is­sues we con­front when it comes to drug ad­dic­tion,” he said.

“To sim­ply come up with a vic­tim-blam­ing ap­proach of forc­ing peo­ple who are im­pacted by drugs in re­la­tion to their eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion doesn’t solve the prob­lem. What we need to do is build com­plex so­lu­tions to com­plex prob­lems.

“Beware of politi­cians com­ing to you with sim­ple an­swers for com­plex prob­lems.”

How­ever, for­mer meth user Tom de Souza, who started tak­ing the drug at 14 years old, dis­agreed. He said any way of break­ing the cy­cle of peo­ple us­ing was worth it.

“When you’re stuck in this cy­cle it’s very dif­fi­cult to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for your­self,” he said.

“I was sen­tenced to a drug court pro­gram in Fre­man­tle and that helped me be­cause I was be­ing drug tested three times a week.”

MAP Task­force chair­man Ron Alexan­der, whose own fam­ily has been af­fected by meth use, said the fi­nal ac­tion plan would be sub­mit­ted to gov­ern­ment later this year.

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