Dependency on drugs, legal or illegal, affects many people and can devastate individuals, families and communities. It can lead to people losing their jobs, homes, health and their lives. Methamphetamine dependency has become widespread, with methamphetamine making up 90% by weight of all illicit drugs used in the state, and often linked with violence and crime.
Since 2016, Western Australia has had a Methamphetamine Strategy and Plan and a Methamphetamine Taskforce to address the problem. The aim has been to limit access to the drug, educate people about the risks involved, and help people overcome the problems that come from its use. The Government recently released the Taskforce’s report.
A key part of attempts to reduce methamphetamine dependency and its impacts has been to expand treatment services provided by non-government organisations contracted by the Mental Health Commission. Overall, the Commission has managed this well, resulting in more people accessing treatment and managing their dependency.
The Commission still faces some challenges. There are still gaps in services, and it can be hard to measure how effective treatment programs are. In turn this can make effective contract and performance management difficult. I have made a number of recommendations to help improve these areas, and to provide additional assurance that services are efficiently and effectively delivered. I believe my report will help to inform Parliament and Government as they consider further action to tackle methamphetamine dependency.