South West drug rehabilitation facility needed as harm continues to rise

Mental health minister Helen Morton said drug-related harm was on the increase in the South West.
Mental health minister Helen Morton said drug-related harm was on the increase in the South West.

SOUTH West drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities will be considered by the government in the next few weeks on the back of a growing need across the region.

Mental health minister Helen Morton spoke in Parliament last week about the increase of drug-related harm in the South West, which she says is particularly related to amphetamines.

Mrs Morton said there had been an “increase in harm rather than an increase in usage” with more people going to emergency departments, being hospitalised and seeking treatment for drug use.

“The reason that the harm is so much greater, while the usage has been declining, is the potency of the amphetmaines,” Mrs Morton said.

“Samples from recent times have shown the highest purity levels we have ever seen.

“The increase in presentations for treatment...is not because more people are using amphetmaines, but because those who are using it are using it differently and the harm from that is becoming more evident.”

South West MLC Adele Farina has demanded a government commitment for a South West facility, saying the amount of people seeking help from the South West Community Drug Service had almost doubled in the past 10 years.

Currently there are no South West residential rehabilitation or detoxification facilities and only one residential facility in Esperance.

Mrs Morton told the ABC that some people preferred to move to Perth for treatment as a way of “moving away from their environment which their drug problem is a factor”.

But Ms Farina was concerned this trend would hurt the South West.

“Relocating for treatment may mean people lose their jobs, lose their housing and become disconnected from family supports – for the minister to suggest this is a preferred circumstance when there is no choice available is at best insensitive and at worst, ridiculous.”

Have your say. Do you think the South West is in need of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility? Have you had to travel to Perth to access residential rehabilitation? Email editor.bunburymail@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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