Frontline workers targeted for methamphetamine training

by L&D26 Sep 2016
A new training program has been announced in Western Australia for frontline workers who deal with those affected by methamphetamine.

Among the professions targeted for the training are primary health care, child protection, social services, mental health services, police, corrections and hospital emergency department.

The WA Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell said the idea of the training is to "better equip" drug and alcohol workers as part of the $14.9 million Western Australian Meth Strategy.

In particular, the Mental Health Commission will train 450 frontline workers in Perth and regional areas in how to recognise and respond appropriately to meth-affected people.

This includes how to "de-escalate" a crisis, and keep the user, the public and themselves safe.

"This is vital training that will boost the capacity of the workforce to reduce the harm created by meth," said Mitchell.

"The commission has received increased requests for such training from volunteer organisations, council rangers, security guards and paramedics.

"Also, at this time of year, leading into the music festival season and school leavers celebrations, the commission expects to see an increase in festival and event organisers seeking training.

In Victoria, a training package was announced earlier this year to assist frontline workers in identifying ice (the crystalline form of methamphetamine) users, understanding its effects, and ensuring the safety of themselves, their co-workers and the community.

The $400,000 training package was announced by the Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy and the acting Premier James Merlino.

Last year, it was reported that in Victoria there are an average of 4.7 methaphetamine-related ambulance attendances a day (3.4 of those for ice). Moreover, approximately 87% of those cases are transported to hospital.

For information, counselling and support, call the Meth Helpline on 1800 874 878