Ad­dicts urged to seek help

Nelson Mail - - NEWS - KATY JONES

Nel­son health author­i­ties say there are no plans to set up ex­tra ser­vices for drug ad­dicts in the re­gion, amid re­newed calls for a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre in the city.

The calls came at a high pro­file meet­ing on Mon­day set up by the vol­un­tary or­gan­i­sa­tion, Com­mu­nity Con­nect, to tackle what it called the ‘‘run­away’’ prob­lem of metham­phetamine in Nel­son.

Sev­eral for­mer ad­dicts and fam­i­lies af­fected by meth told the meet­ing there was in­ad­e­quate sup­port avail­able in Nel­son when they needed it.

For­mer user, Cas­san­dra Gibbs, said she couldn’t kick the highly ad­dic­tive drug af­ter she sought help, be­cause she had to wait for weeks for a re­fer­ral from her GP to al­co­hol and drug ad­dic­tion ser­vices.

Spokesper­son for Com­mu­nity Con­nect, Sil­via Yorke, said agen­cies in Nel­son were ‘‘un­able to ad­e­quately keep up with the grow­ing prob­lem,’’ and called for a cen­tre to of­fer in­stant sup­port to peo­ple hooked on meth.

The DHB said the ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port was al­ready avail­able.

‘‘If any­one out there needs help with their ad­dic­tion, it is there for them,’’ said its head of men­tal health and ad­dic­tions, Jane Kin­sey in a writ­ten state­ment.

‘‘Come for­ward. Re­fer your­self for ad­dic­tion treat­ment, or ask a GP to do it for you. We of­fer spe­cial­ist ad­dic­tion treat­ment, a com­pre­hen­sive detox-ser­vice in­clud­ing home-based detox sup­port.’’

They could re­fer peo­ple to res­i­den­tial re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion at Thorpe House in Christchurch and St Marks in Blen­heim.

The DHB was meet­ing an in­creased de­mand for meth-re­lated ad­dic­tion treat­ment, Kin­sey said.

Re­cent fig­ures showed a 60 per cent in­crease in peo­ple seek­ing treat­ment for meth this year com­pared to last, with 11 peo­ple re­quest­ing help in Tas­man com­pared to 6 the year be­fore, and 27 in Nel­son com­pared to 25.

‘‘The is­sue is that, like al­co­hol and cannabis, metham­phetamine has now be­come hugely so­cialised,’’ Kin­sey said.

‘‘The chal­lenge is to stem the num­ber of peo­ple get­ting to the point of ad­dic­tion.

‘‘Be­cause what we are see­ing is that the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple us­ing metham­phetamine do not reach out for ad­dic­tion treat­ment.’’

It was a chal­lenge for the com­mu­nity as a whole – for in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies, all health­care providers, gov­ern­ment agen­cies and NGOs.

The Sal­va­tion Army in Nel­son said more peo­ple were ap­proach­ing its ser­vices due to food and hous­ing is­sues linked to meth.

A re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre would go a long way to ad­dress ad­dic­tion prob­lems in the city, com­mu­nity min­istries team leader Ros Ver­coe said.

‘‘With hav­ing a res­i­den­tial cen­tre, there’s that 24 hour sup­port that’s needed.’’

‘‘When peo­ple are ready to give up on their ad­dic­tion there’s a wait time to be seen [cur­rently], and that win­dow of op­por­tu­nity some­times closes be­cause of the wait time,’’ Ver­coe said. ‘‘If we had a res­i­den­tial cen­tre here it would never be empty. I think there would be a wait­ing list.’’

Thorpe House in Christchurch and St Marks in Blen­heim of­fer res­i­den­tial pro­grammes for peo­ple seek­ing to give up their ad­dic­tions.

BRADEN FASTIER

A view from the road of the SH6 re­align­ment over the Rai Sad­dle.

KATY JONES/NEL­SON MAIL

Com­mu­nity Con­nect founder Sil­via Yorke and for­mer ad­dict Cas­san­dra Gibbs.

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