TACKLING the supply side in the fight against meth has been almost as complex as trying to reduce demand.
New WA Attorney General John Quigley told the Western Suburbs Weekly that addressing the meth crisis confronting WA was one of the State Government’s top priorities.
“We need to adopt a multifaceted approach to dealing with the meth scourge. Our co-ordinated Methamphetamine Action Plan will focus on early prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, as well as prosecution,” he said.
“The Government’s plan includes $2 million for treatment facilities to provide early intervention; two specialised rehabilitation centres – one in the South-West and one in the Kimberley; and creating two dedicated drug and alcohol rehabilitation prisons.”
Custodial Services Inspector Neil Morgan said drugs continued to get into prisons.
“The reality is that unfortunately there are some drugs getting in. That said, the rehabilitation in prison presents an opportunity for the people who want to stop using,” Professor Morgan said.
“The Department does what it can to stop drugs coming in. We probably have not focused enough on the demand side of things – we have to stop the demand.
“It is time the Government looked at growing the drug programs in prison.
“The new government has committed to meth rehabilitation facilities. I have not seen the details but I agree with the concept.
“We have to understand drug rehabilitation programs evolve. Around 10 years ago the drug of primary concern was heroin.
“What you need to do for meth users will be different to what you have to do for heroin users.”
In terms of tacking supply, Mr Quigley said current sentencing was insufficient to deter meth traffickers from their trade.
“We will increase to life the maximum penalty for meth traffickers,” he said.
The Attorney General said sentencing would “send a strong message to both the community and the judiciary that meth traffickers will not be tolerated in WA”, as will the creation of the Meth Border Force – a dedicated unit employing an additional 100 police officers.
Shadow Attorney General Michael Mischin stressed it was important to distinguish between “meth users who have a health issue and meth users, dealers and traffickers who are engaging in criminal activity”.
“For those users who have an addiction, there is a wide spectrum of services… (but) those dealing in meth need to be subject to the full force of the law,” he said.