Funds not enough to fight ice

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Alicia Per­era

Drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ex­perts have wel­comed mil­lions in fund­ing for the ice prob­lem in the Pil­bara, but say it’s still not enough.

The Fed­eral Govern­ment this month an­nounced $20 mil­lion towards meth re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices na­tion­ally, in­clud­ing the Du­rack elec­torate, as part of the Na­tional Ice Task­force.

The spe­cific amount of fund­ing for the Pil­bara is yet to be an­nounced, de­spite the pro­gram sched­uled to start next month.

Pil­bara po­lice have pre­vi­ously re­ported in­tra­venous use of meth by chil­dren as young as 11 in the area and even just last week­end mem­bers of the pub­lic were post­ing on Face­book about a con­tainer full of nee­dles found in a pub­lic area in Bayn­ton West.

Pil­bara dis­trict po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Coombes said he wel­comed any ex­tra fund­ing to re­duce meth use in the re­gion.

“It is about break­ing the cy­cle of the drug use and re­sul­tant crime to sup­ply the use that will re­duce de­mand upon po­lice and many other ser­vices and over­all ben­e­fit the com­mu­nity,” he said.

How­ever, whether the fund­ing goes to new or just ex­ist­ing ser­vices is still be­ing de­cided, and with few re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices in the Pil­bara ques­tions re­main about how much ex­tra fund­ing will do to counter the scourge of ice lo­cally.

The only ex­ist­ing Pil­bara drug and al­co­hol help ser­vices are the Yaan­d­ina Sober Up Shel­ter in Roe­bourne, the Yaan­d­ina Turner River Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre near Hed­land, the Blood­wood Tree’s Wapa Maya Cen­tre in Hed­land, and Mis­sion Aus­tralia’s Pil­bara Com­mu­nity Al­co­hol and Other Drug Ser­vice, also in Hed­land.

The 22-bed Turner River fa­cil­ity is the only res­i­den­tial and ther­a­peu­tic re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre in the re­gion while the short-stay Yaan­d­ina shel­ter is the only one in the City of Kar­ratha area rather than Port or South Hed­land.

Yaan­d­ina Fam­ily Cen­tre chief ex­ec­u­tive Nick Fur­nell said meth ad­dic­tion was one of the ma­jor prob­lems dealt with at Turner River and “there was a def­i­nitely a se­ri­ous prob­lem with meth” in the Pil­bara.

La­bor Mem­ber for Min­ing and Pas­toral Re­gion Stephen Dawson said the prob­lem lo­cally was big­ger than the amount of fund­ing likely to be al­lo­cated to it.

“Meth use is ram­pant right across the Pil­bara and is the big­gest so­cial scourge to have faced the re­gion in a long time,” he said.

“While any ex­tra fund­ing is wel­comed the re­al­ity is the Pil­bara will get very lit­tle of WA’s to­tal $20 mil­lion fund­ing pool.

“We sim­ply don’t have enough re­hab ser­vices in the Pil­bara and quite of­ten when peo­ple do de­cide to seek help the as­sis­tance is not avail­able and they’re placed on a wait­ing list.

“The few Pil­bara NGOs cur­rently pro­vid­ing re­hab ser­vices al­ready strug­gle to keep up with ex­ist­ing de­mand so a mas­sive fund­ing in­jec­tion is re­quired if Govern­ment is se­ri­ous about stop­ping meth use.”

Min­is­ter for Re­gional De­vel­op­ment and Ru­ral Health Fiona Nash said the fund­ing was es­pe­cially aimed at re­gional WA which was par­tic­u­larly hard-hit by meth use.

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