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Drugs Not The Only Strain On Mental Health

Drugs Not The Only Strain On Mental Health

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today said that strain on Wellington's mental health services was the result of more than just increased drug use, in light of reports that young adult drug-users now account for 60 percent of all mental health admissions in Wellington.

"The fact is that these drug-users would not be creating such a strain if there was not already a serious lack of acute, medium-term, and long-term, mental health beds," Mrs Roy said.

"Health Minister Annette King has repeatedly refused to address the problems with our mental health system. Not only has she allowed the closure of mental health wards - such as Kenepuru Hospital's Rangituhi unit last year - but she constantly devolves responsibility when faced with patients like Mark Burton.

"It is well-documented that drugs - such as P, methamphetamines and cannabis - cause symptoms to worsen in users with existing mental health conditions, like schizophrenia. But increased drug use is not the sole cause of mental health system strain.

"Methamphetamines are a serious problem - for more than just mental health providers. These drugs are hugely damaging to the wider community, and cannot be solved from any one perspective, health or otherwise.

"What is needed is a co-operative approach involving health services and police. Hard policing, and provision of mental health beds, will combat both drug use and mental health service strain. The sooner Labour realises that, the sooner it can stop failing doctors, patients and the wider community," Mrs Roy said.

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