This article first appeared in www.smh.com.au on Dec 3, 2015.
Author: Amy Corderoy.
The federal government’s ice taskforce has found rehabilitation services are well short of demand and has recommended governments invest more money in treatment and rehabilitations.
Fairfax Media has obtained sections of the report that reveal huge gaps identified in the treatment of methamphetamine or ice addicts, and the need for ongoing, reliable funding for treatment.
Fiona Nash, the minister in charge of drug and alcohol policy, has told Fairfax Media authorities can no longer try to “arrest their way out of the ice problem” and more needed to be done to reduce demand for the drug.
The report is in contrast to some of the rhetoric from the former prime minister Tony Abbott, who commissioned the taskforce, and has announced responses to the ice including new “dob-in-a-dealer” phone line and an “ice ruins lives” education campaign – despite being warned by health advisers such “shock and awe” campaigns are ineffective.
Recommendations from the National Ice Taskforce final report seen by Fairfax Media show the group, headed by Victoria’s former chief police commissioner Ken Lay, has found specialist treatment services are simply unable to keep up with demand.
The taskforce has recommended federal, state and territory government should all invest more money in alcohol and other drug treatment services that are evidence-based and link to social, educational and vocational support.
It also said governments must improve the planning for long-term treatment services, including lengthening funding periods so services aren’t left working from grant to grant – an endemic problem in the drug treatment area.