Meth use hits hos­pi­tals

Melville Times - - Front Page - Sarah Brookes

MORE than one in ev­ery 100 pre­sen­ta­tions at emer­gency de­part­ments are meth-re­lated, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est sta­tis­tics from the WA Health Depart­ment.

The new sur­veil­lance sys­tem in­tro­duced at seven hos­pi­tals in July 2017 showed hos­pi­tals emer­gency de­part­ments dealt with more than 500 methre­lated at­ten­dances each month, with Royal Perth Hos­pi­tal cop­ping the brunt of the is­sue.

Fig­ures for the Jan­uary to June 2018 pe­riod recorded 3223 meth-re­lated ED at­ten­dances (17.8 per day), down slightly on the pre­vi­ous six-month pe­riod which recorded 3369 at­ten­dances (18.3 per day).

Over a third of all methre­lated ED at­ten­dances were aged be­tween 26-35, with 2361 recorded in the 12-month pe­riod, and 73 cases in­volved chil­dren aged 17 or younger.

Fiona Stan­ley Hos­pi­tal had 429 meth-af­fected pa­tients from July to De­cem­ber 2017 and 387 in the first six months of 2018.

Over­all the num­ber of meth-re­lated at­ten­dances has re­mained steady at 1.3 per cent.

Last year’s re­port showed the most com­mon time for meth-af­fected pa­tients to present at hos­pi­tals were be­tween 5pm and 6pm on Satur­days, fol­lowed by Sun­day evenings.Just over 20 per cent re-at­tended an emer­gency depart­ment for a meth-re­lated is­sue.

Abo­rig­i­nal pa­tients ac­counted for 20.9 per cent of meth-re­lated ED at­ten­dances.

WA Op­po­si­tion Leader Mike Na­han said meth ad­dicts were dis­rupt­ing the hos­pi­tal sys­tem.

“We are propos­ing a tough-love ap­proach with manda­tory re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of meth ad­dicts – a sys­tem that is work­ing in NSW and Vic­to­ria,” he said.

“First we need to build re­hab fa­cil­i­ties, take these ad­dicts out of pris­ons and as part of their sen­tence they must go into re­hab, often for sig­nif­i­cant pe­ri­ods. This keeps ad­dicts off the streets, out of our hos­pi­tals and saves their lives.

“This is a grow­ing is­sue and we need to do some­thing about it.”

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