- $171.4 million Meth Action Plan bolstered with extra initiatives following the release of the Meth Action Plan Taskforce Report
- New initiatives will continue to reduce demand, supply and harm of methamphetamine
- Award-winning Mental Health Police Co-Response program expanded to cover four districts
- Planning for a WA trial of compulsory crisis intervention to support WA families
- New mental health emergency centre will be developed at Midland Hospital
The McGowan Labor Government will boost its co-ordinated and integrated Methamphetamine Action Plan with extra initiatives targeted at supporting families in crisis.
The Meth Action Plan Taskforce, commissioned by the McGowan Government to provide advice and recommendations on what more could be done to reduce methamphetamine demand, supply and harm, has released its report and findings.
Community forums held across metropolitan and regional centres and online community consultation provided the taskforce with personal accounts of the devastating effect of methamphetamine use, as well as success stories of those who had overcome their addictions.
These discussions and conversations occurred through 70 meetings with more than 500 people across Western Australia, all which contributed to the taskforce’s report.
The report acknowledged the State Government’s work to combat methamphetamine and made 57 recommendations that looked at education, intervention, treatment and support services, reducing harm and use, meeting regional needs, pathways following treatment, cross-sector collaboration and evaluation.
One of the recommendations was for the State Government to develop an implementation plan in response to the report, which is now being undertaken.
Key focus areas the State Government will address as part of its initial response to the report are:
- Effective response to crisis in the community;
- Short-term, safe places for compulsory crisis intervention;
- Making help easier to find;
- Targeted education and prevention in schools;
- Emergency stabilisation and referral services in hospitals; and
- Responding to complex issues in a comprehensive way.
Extra initiatives to be rolled out as part of the State Government’s new Meth Action Plan include the expansion of the award-winning police and mental health co-response program to cover four areas – Perth’s southern, eastern, northern and south-eastern areas.
The expansion will enable the rollout of two additional mobile response units, made up of police officers and mental health clinician teams who respond to calls seeking assistance in crisis situations where mental illness, or alcohol and other drugs are identified as a likely factor.
The State Government will plan for a WA trial of compulsory crisis intervention. This will give families in crisis an alternative source of immediate help in situations that require stabilisation and withdrawal services, in a safe environment.
A one-stop 24-hour support service will also be established to better support individuals and families in need.
The McGowan Labor Government has invested $171.4 million towards the Meth Action Plan which includes the establishment of the Meth Border Force; increased police roadside testing; additional treatment beds across the State; the introduction of mental health emergency centres; delivery of WA’s first alcohol and other drug treatment prison, with a second facility in progress; a plan for treatment services in the Kimberley and has also introduced the toughest penalties in Australia for meth traffickers.
As the Government prepares its implementation plan, it is not considering the introduction of needle exchanges in prison or weakening illicit drug laws.
The State Government recently announced the development of a new four-bed, two-bay Mental Health Emergency Centre at St John of God Midland Public Hospital, which is another key plank of the Meth Action Plan.
The Government’s full response to the recommendations of the Meth Action Plan Taskforce report is expected to be released next year.
The Methamphetamine Action Plan Taskforce Final Report can be viewed at: https://www.dpc.wa.gov.au/ProjectsandSpecialEvents/MAPTaskforce/Pages/default.aspx
Free help is available through the Alcohol and Drug Support Line – (08) 9442 5000.
As noted by Premier Mark McGowan:
“The drivers of demand, and the harms associated with methamphetamine use, are complex and understanding these challenges have been the focus of the taskforce. I thank them for their contribution and efforts in preparing a comprehensive report like this.
“This Government will not shy away from our responsibility in dealing with this major problem across our community, our Meth Action Plan has delivered positive results but we know there is still so much to do.
“Our additional initiatives will only strengthen our efforts in cracking down on meth and will provide more support to families who face the devastating impacts of meth use.”
As noted by Health and Mental Health Minister Roger Cook:
“The impact of methamphetamine use is devastating for individuals, their families and the community. The taskforce identified that methamphetamine use must be viewed as a health and community issue and cannot be solved by law enforcement alone.
“The MAP Taskforce report recommends the provision of emergency stabilisation and referral services in hospitals. The McGowan Government has committed $11.6 million for a specialist unit at Royal Perth Hospital, and last week I was in Midland to announce a Mental Health Emergency Centre will be developed at the public hospital.
“The McGowan Government will introduce crisis intervention services to provide a safe place for those individuals who are a risk to themselves and others. We want to support families who feel they have exhausted all other options.
“We will look closely at what needs to happen to run a WA trial for compulsory drug treatment as we wait for the conclusion of the trial underway in New South Wales and its evaluation.”
As noted by Police Minister Michelle Roberts:
“I’m pleased we’ve been able to expand the Mental Health Police Co-Response team to provide coverage across the metropolitan area.
“This award-winning initiative provides an effective and timely response to families and much needed expert support to police dealing with these difficult situations.
“We’ve committed $104 million to the WA Police Force for the Meth Border Force which has led to record seizures and the disruption of criminal syndicates moving meth around the State.
“And while recent wastewater results show meth use in WA is trending down, we won’t be taking our foot off the pedal.”