Meth: funding cut for drug support helpline

Andrea Mitchell launching the helpline in 2016.
Andrea Mitchell launching the helpline in 2016.

A HELPINE offering free professional drug counselling has had its funding slashed less than two years after it was established.

More than 7000 West Australians have accessed the Meth Helpline, staffed by the Alcohol and Drug Support Service, since it launched in September 2016.

Mental Health Commissioner Timothy Marney confirmed $154,000 was being cut from the service in the 2018-19 State Budget, which would result in a loss of 10 counsellor shifts.

Seven trained counsellors provide advice via the Meth Helpline, the Alcohol and Drug Support Line and the Parent and Family Drug Support Line.

“The Meth Helpline is still active and continues to serve the public and the call volumes will be closely monitored,” Mr Marney said.

“If a call is missed, the caller has the option of leaving a message and they will be called back.

“People can also visit their closest Community Alcohol and Other Drug Service for free face-to-face support.”

Health Minister Roger Cook said the expenditure review committee decided to reduce funding as part of the budget process.

He noted the State Government’s commitment of $45 million over four years for a Methamphetamine Action Plan, which will include a report by the Meth Taskforce on reducing methamphetamine harm, demand and supply which is expected to be delivered later this year.

The Meth Helpline operates 24/7; call 1800 874 878.