The effectiveness of an overhaul of funding to target drug use in regional WA has been questioned, as the exact details of the package are yet to be announced.
The Federal Government will provide $20 million to drug and alcohol rehabilitation services in the electorate of Durack in a bid to combat ‘ice’ use.
The WA Primary Health Alliance is expected to commission services from July 1.
The operations manager of the Geraldton Resource Centre, Chris Gabelish, said rehabilitation should not be the sole focus, rather an understanding and assessment of what has led an individual to use the drug.
“If there has not been significant changes in the environment to which that person is returning to, then what real expectation is there that rehabilitation is going to be a significant enough change that the environmental factors won’t work against the person that’s been through rehabilitation,” he said.
He said significant changes to an individual’s environment, such as ensuring they have access to housing and employment, needed to be the focus.
“Simplistically looking at rehabilitation as a nice catchcry … that’s not going to make the difference,” he said.
“I think we’re probably fluffing around the edges for that as an answer.”
Providing earlier intervention
The WA Primary Health Alliance (PHA) said the funding would provide earlier intervention to those addicted to methamphetamines.
PHA mental health general manager Dr Danny Rock said the arrangement to channel the fund through primary health and general practice was a first.
“It’s easier to intervene in primary care before the problem escalates to secondary and tertiary care,” he said.
“We’re not looking to supplement what’s already occurring, this is new funding, it’s looking not to simply … add on to what the state is doing, it’s about new approaches.
“The funding that the Commonwealth has provided is for treatment. This is for treatment services specifically.”
Dr Rock said there would be a process of engagement with the local community.
“So we have regional clinical commissioning committees and it is their knowledge and their input that will design the service and we will commission around that and build the funding around that commissioning process,” he said.
“This is a complicated problem, there’s not going to be one solution but solutions have to be local by design.
“There isn’t a silver bullet to this – it’s going to be a long-term approach, it’s something communities need to engage with.”
Author: Sebastian Neuweiler