Joon­dalup Health Cam­pus emer­gency depart­ment deals with dozens of meth-affected pa­tients ev­ery week:

North Coast Weekender - - Front Page - Sarah Brookes

EMER­GENCY depart­ment staff at Joon­dalup Health Cam­pus are deal­ing with dozens of meth-affected pa­tients ev­ery week, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est sta­tis­tics from the WA Health Depart­ment.

Joon­dalup Health Cam­pus recorded the third­high­est num­ber of meth-affected pa­tients, with 393 cases for the first half of 2018.

This was down on the pre­vi­ous re­port­ing pe­riod of July 2017 to December 2017, when the hospi­tal recorded 523 meth-affected pre­sen­ta­tions, the sec­ond high­est of the seven hos­pi­tals track­ing emer­gency pa­tients be­lieved to be un­der the in­flu­ence of metham­phetamine.

The new sur­veil­lance sys­tem in­tro­duced in July 2017 showed hos­pi­tals emer­gency de­part­ments were deal­ing with more than 500 meth-re­lated at­ten­dances a month, with Royal Perth Hospi­tal cop­ping the brunt of the is­sue.

Fig­ures for the first half of this year recorded 3223 meth-re­lated ED at­ten­dances (17.8 per day), down slightly on the pre­vi­ous six­month pe­riod which recorded 3369 at­ten­dances (18.3 per day).

Over one-third of all meth-re­lated at­ten­dances were aged 26-35 and there were 73 cases in­volv­ing chil­dren aged 17 or younger.

Abo­rig­i­nal pa­tients ac­counted for nearly 21 per cent of meth-re­lated ED at­ten­dances.

WA Op­po­si­tion Leader Mike Na­han said meth ad­dicts were dis­rupt­ing the hospi­tal sys­tem.

“We are propos­ing a tough love approach with manda­tory re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of meth ad­dicts, which is a sys­tem that is work­ing in NSW and Vic­to­ria,” he said.

“First we need to build re­hab fa­cil­i­ties, take these ad­dicts out of pris­ons and as part of their sen­tence they must go into re­hab, of­ten for sig­nif­i­cant pe­ri­ods of time. This keeps ad­dicts off the streets, out of our hos­pi­tals and saves their lives.”

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