METH FIGHT

WHAT’S BE­ING DONE TO STOP ICE SCOURGE

Southern Telegraph - - News -

Treat­ment for meth ad­dic­tion comes in many forms and is avail­able in Rock­ing­ham through the South Metropoli­tan Com­mu­nity Al­co­hol and Drug Ser­vice’s Palmer­ston As­so­ci­a­tion cen­tre.

Man­ager Bram Dick­ens over­sees the Rock­ing­ham cen­tre and said the first step in the treat­ment process was iden­ti­fy­ing a per­son’s drug of con­cern.

“We of­fer spe­cial­ist med­i­cal treat­ment and coun­selling,” he said.

“Our cen­tre is de­signed to be invit­ing and en­cour­age peo­ple to feel com­fort­able and want to re­turn.

“In home de­tox as­sis­tance is also pro­vided by the Drug and Al­co­hol With­drawal Net­work who are also in our cen­tre.”

Mis­sion Australia’s Drug and Al­co­hol Youth Ser­vice pro­vides 24hour ac­cess to treat­ment ser­vices for young peo­ple aged 12-19.

DAYS pro­gram man­ager Ja­cob, whose sur­name is pro­tected, said the team of ex­perts helped young peo­ple by ad­dress­ing sub­stance abuse, nu­tri­tion and fit­ness.

“We have re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and tran­si­tional pro­grams to as­sist peo­ple and im­prove their health and well­be­ing,” he said.

“Al­most 50 per cent of par­tic­i­pants in the res­i­den­tial re­hab iden­tify meth as their pri­mary drug of con­cern.

“The key to suc­cess is for young peo­ple to re­move them­selves from their peer group.”

The Fed­eral Govern­ment launched the WA Meth Strat­egy ear­lier this year and out­lined three fronts from which they would fight meth — ed­u­ca­tion, sup­port and sup­ply. Sup­port ser­vice fund­ing, an es­tab­lished meth-help hot­line and boosted road­side drug test­ing are some of the Govern­ment’s strate­gies.

The link be­tween meth and men­tal health is an­other is­sue for agen­cies with the as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween users and psy­chosis very high.

WA Po­lice are work­ing to im­prove the way of­fi­cers han­dle men­tal health and drug-re­lated call-outs.

A two-year trial of men­tal health and po­lice co-re­sponse teams has started in the South East Metropoli­tan district.

Po­lice Min­is­ter Liza Har­vey said se­nior men­tal health clin­i­cians would work along­side front­line po­lice.

“Po­lice at­tended more than 17,000 men­tal health call-outs last financial year,” she said.

“We hope to re­duce the num­ber of trans­ports to emer­gency de­part- ments and im­prove of­fi­cer safety.”

Ed­u­ca­tion is the key to pre­ven­tion and some­thing that long-serv­ing Mem­ber for Rock­ing­ham Mark McGowan be­lieves should be in­stilled from a young age.

“Long-term so­lu­tions should be based on in­ten­sive ed­u­ca­tion that is in­te­grated in school cur­ricu­lums,” he said. “The key to stop­ping peo­ple tak­ing meth for the first time be­gins in pri­mary school.

“We need to make it dif­fi­cult for meth users to fit in so­cially and schools need to pro­vide the drug ed­u­ca­tion that some chil­dren may not re­ceive from their par­ents.”

Many agen­cies deal­ing with meth ad­dic­tion are fur­ther ed­u­cat­ing their staff to ad­dress the cur­rent spike.

“We have brought in re­searchers and held a meth fo­rum so that we are up to date with the lat­est in­for­ma­tion,” Palmer­ston co-or­di­na­tor Emma Thomas said. “Our staff al- ready have a fan­tas­tic knowl­edge base but we can al­ways look for im­prove­ments.”

Mr Dick­ens said new treat­ments could be an op­tion in the fu­ture.

“We have phar­ma­cother­apy that works with opi­ates and now re­searchers want to iden­tify if there is a phar­ma­cother­apy that might work with meth,” he said.

Mr Dick­ens said while fam­i­lies could be for­given for plead­ing in des­per­a­tion to have their son or daugh­ter locked up, the reality was in­di­vid­ual client mo­ti­va­tion was a key el­e­ment of suc­cess­ful treat­ment for meth use.

“Peo­ple are re­ferred to our ser­vices through dif­fer­ent av­enues but the most suc­cess­ful way is al­ways self-re­fer­ral,” he said.

“Of­ten there is a trig­ger that pro­vides a wake-up call which can be any­thing from a re­la­tion­ship break­down to trou­ble with the law.

“The clients that we see are ready to ad­dress their is­sue.”

Mr Dick­ens said re­searchers were now aware that meth was more ad­dic­tive than any drug they had en­coun­tered and the re­cov­ery pe­riod was long and hard.

“Other drugs don’t have the same ef­fects on the brain as we have seen from meth,” he said.

“This re­cov­ery pe­riod can be any­where from 12-18 months and can be a bleak time.”

Mr Dick­ens said it was dur­ing th­ese months that peo­ple were most at risk of re­laps­ing.

“Our re­sponse to this is to ed­u­cate our clients and their friends and fam­i­lies about the long re­cov­ery pe­riod and pro­vide con­tin­u­ing care ser­vices to sup­port them through their re­cov­ery,” he said.

Mr Dick­ens said en­gag­ing fam­i­lies in the re­cov­ery process was ex­tremely im­por­tant.

“It is a tough jour­ney but the im­por­tant thing is that there are ser­vices avail­able and com­mit­ted peo­ple work­ing hard to pro­vide as much help and sup­port as they can in our com­mu­ni­ties,” he said.

Jim, He­len and Ja­cob are part of Mis­sion Australia’s Drug and Al­co­hol Youth Ser­vice team help­ing young peo­ple over­come meth ad­dic­tion.

Mark McGowan

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