Meth scourge draws tears

Dominique BayensGeraldton Guardian

Members of the community were in tears as they shared stories of family members addicted to meth at a forum held on Thursday, January 12, to tackle the methamphetamine scourge in Geraldton.

Hosted by Liberal Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney, the forum was an opportunity for members of the public to meet with State Minister for Mental Health Andrea Mitchell to discuss a strategy to combat meth addiction within the community.

Ms Mitchell said the State Government would work on stopping the supply of methamphetamine from Asia.

There was also discussion surrounding delivery companies being used to unknowingly transport drugs.

The Mental Health Minister said police would be given rights to search vehicles and conduct police blocks on roads leading to smaller towns.

Ms Mitchell said the State Government would work through social media to educate the community about meth and deliver “specific messages to specific groups”.

Women’s Health Resource Centre sexual health nurse Sharon Houwen raised concerns of an increase in clients addicted to drugs expressing desires to kick their habit.

“A lot of the clients I see with a drug issue ... usually they are the ones that are saying it’s destroying my life,” she said.

“If we can get better information that I can give to them and help follow through so that I know they’ve got the help.”

State Opposition leader Mark McGowan released a statement earlier this week announcing Labour’s Statewide strategy to tackle WA’s meth crisis.

Mr McGowan promised, if elected Labor would inject an additional $2 million a year into existing treatment facilities as well as introducing the new concept of rehabilitation prisons.

“We are creating a new role for our prisons to enable us to target those prisoners who offer the greatest chance at rehabilitation,” he said.

The WA Labor leader has promised to expand specialist drug services into rural and regional areas and will open two specialised rehabilitation centres in the South West and Kimberley.

Mr McGowan made a brief visit to Geraldton on Monday, January 9, after visiting the Pilbara, Kimberley and Gascoyne earlier in the day.

He paid a visit to Point Moore Lighthouse and met with residents as part of a Statewide tour.

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