Meth use problems rival alcohol abuse

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

Issues surrounding meth use are starting to become as serious as those caused by excessive alcohol consumption, according to the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia.

AHCWA chairwoman Michelle Nelson-Cox said the shift was resulting in a lack of services and those that did exist being inadequately prepared to provide care for those using drugs.

“While there is evidence that alcohol use is still higher than methamphetamine use, from the Aboriginal community perspective, we are certainly seeing methamphetamine use becoming just as significant as alcohol use,” she said. “Our people are crying out for help.

“They want community-led solutions and want to work with Government departments but all they are getting is lip-service.”

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Port Hedland Bloodwood Tree chief executive Kelly Howlett agreed with Ms Nelson-Cox in terms of noting a rise in the illicit drug use.

“While it has risen significantly, it has not yet here in Port/South Hedland overtaken excessive alcohol use,” she said.

“Excessive alcohol use is still our primary area of focus.

“This could be attributed to the comparative ease in availability, lower cost, social acceptability and legal status of alcohol compared to methamphetamine.” Despite AHCWA’s claim of services being unprepared for the shift, Ms Howlett said Bloodwood Tree provided services, not only for those in need of methamphetamine intervention, but also for family members and carers, through counselling and a range of sober living programs.

“Bloodwood Tree provides counselling, both as a one-on-one and group support programs such as our SMART Group and the Safe, Sober Strong Program,” she said.

Ms Cox went on to criticise the use of cashless welfare cards to minimise drug use.

“Our elders are gravely concerned about the impact of the cashless welfare card,” she said.

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