Addicts urged to seek help
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.
A view from the road of the SH6 realignment over the Rai Saddle.
Community Connect founder Silvia Yorke and former addict Cassandra Gibbs.