Former addict questions WA Govt’s forced rehab plan for meth users

Stock image.
Stock image.

A FORMER meth addict has questioned a State Government strategy to force users into rehabilitation as a way to combat WA’s meth problem.

Dee Allender, who has been clean for seven years, said rehabilitation was only successful if you wanted it, and was not something you could be forced into.

The Barnett Government outlined forced rehabilitation as a possible solution to tackle WA’s scourge on meth after New Zealand introduced new drug and alcohol laws that allow family members and police officers to force an addict into treatment.

MORE: Ice Epidemic: WA uses 2 tonnes of meth each year.

Ms Allender said after her 17-year battle with methamphetamine use, the only thing that made her want to go into rehab was hitting rock bottom.

“You can’t force people to do anything. You can try, but it doesn’t mean it will sink in,” she said.

“Many people say they are getting clean for their kids or their mum, but it really has to be something you want.”

Subiaco’s Fresh Start centre mental health nurse Jo Perrie said from her experience people forced into rehab were generally not successful at staying clean.

“I won’t discount compulsory rehab because some people are so sick that they risk dying if they don’t seek help,” she said.

“The Government is well intended and they want to provide treatment, the problem is there aren’t enough rehabilitation beds to cater for the amount of people who need help, and the person has to be ready and want to get clean.”

Ms Allender said she believed many people continued to use drugs because their family and friends were enabling them.

“If families are paying their bills, giving them money and giving them somewhere to stay then you are not helping them, they aren’t uncomfortable in their dysfunction,” she said.

“They need to hit rock bottom and see what the drug has done to them and they need to discover them by themselves.”