WA Budget: state to spend $14.9m in fight against meth use

THE State Government will spend $14.9 million in 2016-17 to fight methamphetamine use.

Measures announced in last Thursday’s State Budget included an extra 52 meth rehabilitation beds and eight ‘low-medical withdrawal’ beds to help those addicted to the drug, commonly known as ice.

Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell said that would bring the total number of residential rehabilitation beds for those battling alcohol and drug addictions to more than 400.

“Families are crying out for more help to get their loved ones off this drug and this funding will provide extra residential rehabilitation and withdrawal services,” Ms Mitchell said.

Treasurer Mike Nahan said the measures were part of a “cross-agency” approach to combating meth.

“The funding builds on the work being undertaken by WA Police to disrupt the supply of the drug into the community,” Dr Nahan said.

WA Police recorded a 40.8 per cent increase in amphetamine-type stimulant arrests between 2013-14 and 2014-15.

WA’s meth use is significantly higher than the national average, with 3.8 per cent of the population older than 14 having tried the drug, compared to 2.1 per cent nationally.