Compulsory drug treatment: State Government committed to new program

Andrea Mitchell addresses the media.
Andrea Mitchell addresses the media.

WA HEALTH Minister Andrea Mitchell is confident she will have draft legislation for compulsory treatment of drug addicts ready by the end of the year.

It was reported on Thursday that the State Government was looking to New Zealand’s model of forced rehabilitation periods for people suffering from addictions that impair their ability to make choices.

With methamphetamine use on the rise in WA, Ms Mitchell said the State Government is committed to implementing such a policy.

But Ms Mitchell “very much doubts” the legislation will be enforced before the next state election.

“Research shows it does work, we are getting that loud and clear,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We’ve had it in our plan all the time, it’s been in the mental health plan, what I’ve done is brought it forward.

“I will have a clear design of the model of service and the legislation required around it by the end of this year.

“We are working on that feverishly to get that moving as quickly as possible.”

Ms Mitchell said her team was not only looking at New Zealand, but was also analysing New South Wales’ treatment program.

“We are looking at the jurisdictions that have legislation in place, working out what works best in their cases and then making sure that will work in the West Australian context,” she said.

“This is about our people.

“We are not copying and pasting, we’re not just transferring another piece of legislation into our (state).

“We will make the changes, we will get it to work for us.”

Ms Mitchell said the addict’s “referral pathways” would need to be closely looked at with the new legislation, to ensure human rights were safeguarded.