Meth use hits hospitals
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.”