Meth coun­selling shifts cut

North Coast Times - - NEWS - Laura Pond

A HELPLINE of­fer­ing free pro­fes­sional drug coun­selling has had its funding slashed less than two years after it was es­tab­lished.

More than 7000 West Aus­tralians have ac­cessed the Meth Helpline, staffed by the Al­co­hol and Drug Sup­port Ser­vice, since it launched in Septem­ber 2016.

Men­tal Health Com­mis­sioner Ti­mothy Mar­ney con­firmed $154,000 was be­ing cut from the ser­vice in the 2018-19 State Bud­get, which would re­sult in a loss of 10 coun­sel­lor shifts.

Seven trained coun­sel­lors pro­vide ad­vice via the Meth Helpline, the Al­co­hol and Drug Sup­port Line, and the Par­ent and Fam­ily Drug Sup­port Line.

“The Meth Helpline is still ac­tive and con­tin­ues to serve the pub­lic and the call vol­umes will be closely mon­i­tored,” Mr Mar­ney said.

“If a call is missed, the caller has the op­tion of leav­ing a mes­sage and they will be called back.

“Peo­ple can also visit their clos­est Com­mu­nity Al­co­hol and Other Drug Ser­vice for free face-to-face sup­port.”

Health Min­is­ter Roger Cook said the ex­pen­di­ture re­view com­mit­tee de­cided to re­duce funding as part of the bud­get process.

He noted the State Gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment of $45 mil­lion over four years for a Metham­phetamine Ac­tion Plan, which will in­clude a re­port by the Meth Task­force on re­duc­ing metham­phetamine harm, de­mand and sup­ply, which is ex­pected to be de­liv­ered later this year.

The Meth Helpline op­er­ates 24/7; call 1800 874 878.

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