This submission responds to the 2013 Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the supply and use of methamphetamines, particularly ‘ice’, in Victoria.

Methamphetamines use impacts on the judgement, mental health, health, and relationships of many of the people we work with.

Our submission outlines some concrete steps for action that can be taken within the existing harm minimisation framework of alcohol and drug policy.

It identifies key areas for attention as:

  • Better engagement with and harm reduction support for methamphetamine users with the
    aim of building their willingness to engage in treatment
  • Providing readily accessible treatment services grounded in a strong evidence base of what
    works for treating methamphetamine use, including specialised services for co-morbid
    mental illness
  • Providing alternatives to hospitalisation and criminal justice system involvement during
    periods of crisis for users.

The submission recommends:

  • That the Victorian Government funds a pilot project to proactively engage with methamphetamine users who are not engaged with services with a view to minimising harm of use and building readiness for treatment. Outreach and activity focused engagement approaches should be utilised in the pilot model.
  • That targeted detox and treatment services for methamphetamine users be developed and funded based on the specific requirements of this group. Treatment responses should be appropriate for particular age, gender and cultural groups.
  • That the Victorian Government ensure strong requirements on treatment providers under reformed mental health and alcohol and drug treatment systems to develop specialised responses for people experiencing comorbidity.
  • That the Victorian Government continue to support the development of workforce capacity to provide effective responses to dually diagnosed people through its workforce development strategies for mental health and alcohol and drug services.
  • That the Victorian Government eases the burden of methamphetamine on the public health and criminal justice systems by developing targeted crisis response for users in the community and when they present to health and other services. As part of this the capacity of existing community crisis responses should be strengthened.
  • That current reforms to human services, including alcohol and other drug and mental health services, promote flexible service delivery and stable ongoing relationships for service users.
  • That in transitioning to reformed services, the Victorian Government explore how to best retain the experience and expertise of specialist services.

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