MISSION Australia has developed a specific role to support and educate young people using methamphetamine due to growing demand on its Drug and Alcohol Youth Service (DAYS).
Youth services WA area manager Suzanne Caren said the methamphetamine case manager position was created in response to a growing number of young people referred to the free East Perth service using the drug.
“Between June and December 2017, more than a third of young people accessing DAYS reported using meth,” she said.
“The young people accessing our service usually have a variety of needs as well as drug addiction, such as safety concerns including sexual vulnerability and abuse, homelessness, trauma and neglect.
“This means young people often arrive intoxicated, in crisis, or both. Many of these young people also are dealing with complex and persistent mental health concerns.”
Ms Caren said a “critical element in fighting drug misuse” was through education, which was a main priority of Mission Australia.
“Education provides an opportunity for our staff to highlight the implications of drug and alcohol use and provides an opportunity for young people to ask questions that they may not feel comfortable asking in other situations,” she said.
As well as having access to DAYS, Ms Caren said young people could gain information and support from Community Alcohol and Drug Services, while parents and carers had the Parent Information Drug Service.
Ms Caren said the reality on the frontline was that meth was having a significant impact on young people in the community.
“This in turn is placing them in high-risk situations, as well as having a significant impact on their mental health,” she said.
“Young people using meth can be supported to stop using; however, there is no short term quick fix for this issue.”