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New beds, resources in battle against meth

Hon Peter Dunne
Associate Minister of Health

Friday 4 December 2009
Media Release

Dunne: New beds, resources in battle against methamphetamine

Health sector action to address the country’s methamphetamine problem is well underway, including up to 60 new treatment and social detoxification beds being available by the middle of next year, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said today.

An additional 18 residential treatment beds to meet the existing demand are now available (mainly in the Auckland region) to treat individuals seriously affected by methamphetamine misuse.

The Ministry of Health will have a further 12 residential beds and eight social detoxification beds will become available for treatment in February, and 40 more (30 residential and 10 social detoxification beds) by 1 July 2010.

The additional services will help those who are already waiting and most in need of assessment and treatment.

Additional resource is also being provided to the Alcohol Drug Helpline (0800 787 797) to engage clinical staff to assist those concerned about their use or someone else’s use of methamphetamine. The Alcohol Drug Helpline can also support people waiting to access services.

Mr Dunne said there has also been considerable progress behind the scenes, and plans to reclassify methamphetamine precursors as Class B2 controlled drugs had begun. A Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill will be introduced to Parliament in the New Year. The Bill would change the status of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine so they are only available on prescription from a medical practitioner.

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Scholarships to assist those working with methamphetamine users are being advertised now by Te Rau Matatini (www.matatini.co.nz), a health workforce programme. The scholarships are available to those:

• Working (now or in the future) with whanau who have an issue with methamphetamine misuse
• Currently working in the AOD sector who are committed to ongoing professional development, and
• Undertaking a relevant study programme in the 2010 academic year.

Mr Dunne said that while the addiction treatment sector is already capable and working well with those with methamphetamine issues, he is keen that expertise is widened and strengthened throughout the sector.

A review to update the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act 1966 is progressing, and will go out to public consultation next year.

An initiative to improve information for the public about methamphetamine is also under way. This is expected to result in better level of information available online by April next year.

The 40 beds to be available by 1 July 2010 will be through a contestable tender process early next year.

Background

The additional beds are a mix of social detoxification beds (where individuals can let the effects of the drug wear off) and residential beds (where individuals can stay while they’re being treated). The residential treatment package consists of detox, residential care, and aftercare to support the individual and family/whanau once the residential phase is completed.

The additional residential beds are being provided in Auckland (Odyssey House, Salvation Army and Higher Ground Drug Rehabilitation Trust) and Dunedin (Moana House Programme).

The additional social detoxification beds will be provided in Northland (Salvation Army), Auckland (Salvation Army), Wellington (Salvation Army), Blenheim (St Marks Alcohol and Drug Residential Service (Blenheim) and Christchurch (Christchurch City Mission – Thorpe House).

ENDS

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