Meth action plan a welcome step

Gareth ThomasAlbany Advertiser
Palmerston manager Ben Headlam said the meth prevention campaign is a positive step.
Camera IconPalmerston manager Ben Headlam said the meth prevention campaign is a positive step. Credit: Laurie Benson

The manager of a Great Southern drug and alcohol treatment service welcomes WA Labor’s meth policy but says there is a very strong need for even further expansion of meth treatment services across the region.

Palmerston manager Ben Headlam said it was well known drug and alcohol services across the country were under-resourced.

“Other than Esperance, we don’t have any beds in the Great Southern or the South West,” he said.

“So certainly we welcome any enhancement to our capacity to actually be able to meet the demands in the community.”

Opposition spokesman for mental health Stephen Dawson said Labor had not yet made a final decision on the location of a regional meth rehabilitation centre and the Great Southern would still be under consideration.

“It could potentially be in the Great Southern, depending on need,” he said.

Mr Headlam said the drug and alcohol treatment sector was working well but there was only enough capacity to treat half of the people looking for help.

“The sector doesn’t need massive reform or change,” he said.

“The New Horizons report at the end of 2015 showed that drug and alcohol treatment in Australia works and that it is good value for money, with every $1 invested in treatment saved $7 of spending in the community.

“But for every person receiving treatment there is one on a waiting list, which is tragic.”

Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell said a new rehabilitation facility would take years to establish and would cost in the order of $700,000 per bed.

“If (WA Labor leader Mark) McGowan can’t say where the money is coming from, there’s no way it is going to happen,” she said.

“The announcement also ignores the fact that most ice addicts do not recover in a residential treatment centre but in the community with the help of support services.”

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