Services combat meth rise

Emily SharpSound Telegraph
Drug addict. Syringe, spoon and lighter.
Camera IconDrug addict. Syringe, spoon and lighter. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

New statistics show methamphetamine use continues to rise in Rockingham but a leading drug agency is rallying to support the community, rolling out new services to help addicts and their families.

The Palmerston Association, which aims to prevent and reduce the harmful effects of drugs, confirmed a 2 per cent increase in meth-using clients this year.

Palmerston Metropolitan Community Services manager Bram Dickens said demand for the organisation’s services was consistently high, with methamphetamine, alcohol and cannabis the top three drugs of choice.

“Our service statistics indicate that the use of methamphetamine in the Rockingham area has risen over the last three six-month periods,” he said.

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“Meth-using clients represented 27 per cent of total clients in January to June 2016 and this has risen to 29 per cent over the same period this year.

“In terms of client numbers, this means that an additional 43 more people attended the service for help with meth in the first half of this year as compared to the same period last year.”

Palmerston Metropolitan Community Services manager Bram Dickens.
Camera IconPalmerston Metropolitan Community Services manager Bram Dickens.

A meth clinic at the Rockingham office was rolled out in May in collaboration with government partner Next Step to provide intensive support to drug users as soon as possible.

“The clinic is a specially designed service for meth users, which offers a priority appointment, case management, counselling, nursing and medical support,” Mr Dickens said.

While demand for services relating to drug use remains high in Rockingham, the Palmerston Association offers a number of options in order to accommodate a range of clients in the knowledge that one solution does not work for everyone.

The association is trialling a Saturday morning service for meth users, which began in April with the aim to attract those unable to attend weekday services.

The organisation also runs a family group for non-using family members once a week and offers an afternoon group on Fridays for those on waiting lists wanting to see a counsellor and a self-managed recovery group is held twice-weekly, with no booking needed to attend a meeting.

“In terms of meth users, we recognise the importance of responding quickly with a service and wait times are low,” Mr Dickens said.

“We acknowledge that it takes strength and determination for someone to reach out for support and we are always ready to meet those individuals with the specialist support they need.

“We offer support to anyone who misuses drugs or alcohol but it is important to understand that we cannot support change in a client’s life until the client is ready to create that change themselves.”

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