For­mer ad­dict queries strat­egy

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By LISA THOMAS

A FOR­MER meth ad­dict has ques­tioned a State Gov­ern­ment strat­egy to force users into re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion as a way to com­bat WA’s meth prob­lem.

Dee Al­len­der, who has been clean for seven years, said re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion was only suc­cess­ful if you wanted it, and was not some­thing you could be forced into.

The Gov­ern­ment out­lined forced re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion as a pos­si­ble so­lu­tion to tackle WA’s scourge on meth af­ter New Zealand in­tro­duced new drug and al­co­hol laws that al­low fam­ily mem­bers and po­lice of­fi­cers to force an ad­dict into treat­ment.

Ms Al­len­der said af­ter her 17-year bat­tle with metham­phetamine use, the only thing that made her want to go into re­hab was hit­ting rock bot­tom.

“You can’t force peo­ple to do any­thing. You can try, but it doesn’t mean it will sink in,” she said. “Many peo­ple say they are get­ting clean for their kids or their mum, but it re­ally has to be some­thing you want.”

Su­bi­aco’s Fresh Start cen­tre men­tal health nurse Jo Per­rie said from her ex­pe­ri­ence, peo­ple forced into re­hab were gen­er­ally not suc­cess­ful at stay­ing clean.

“I won’t dis­count com­pul­sory re­hab be­cause some peo­ple are so sick that they risk dy­ing if they don’t seek help,” she said.

“The Gov­ern­ment is well in­tended and they want to pro­vide treat­ment. The prob­lem is there aren’t enough re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion beds to cater for the amount of peo­ple who need help, and the per­son has to be ready and want to get clean.”

Ms Al­len­der said she be­lieved many peo­ple con­tin­ued to use drugs be­cause their fam­ily and friends were en­abling them. If they have ma­te­rial sup­port, “they aren’t un­com­fort­able in their dys­func­tion”, she said.

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