Health Minister Michael Ferguson is failing in his duty of care to the health of Tasmanians in refusing to commit resources and services to preventing the profound harms, and stopping the spread, of crystal methamphetamine in Tasmania, Greens' Health spokesperson, Cassy O'Connor MP said today.
"The Minister told Parliament today it will take 'months' for the government to consider its response to the 'Review of Drug Use and Service Responses in NW Tasmania' report released today,” Ms O’Connor said.
"Every day that the government fails to invest in Ice treatment, rehabilitation and prevention is a day we risk another young Tasmanian falling victim to this toxically addictive drug.”
"The Review identifies a shortage of residential rehabilitation services, specialist medical, nursing and youth-specific services in the North and North West, as well as a 'perceived' lack of prevention and early intervention measures, which are in fact truly lacking in the region.”
"Both the Review and Interim Review released in October identified patchy, unreliable and, in some cases, non-existent data to describe the extent of Ice use in the North and North West.”
"The fact is, as Agency which authored the report acknowledges, apart from Police intelligence suggesting a shift to amphetamine use across the state, we do not know the true extent of the problem in Tasmania.”
"One life wasted by Ice is one too many. Tackling Ice, and the underlying causes of drug abuse, strengthening individual and community resilience, should be an absolute government priority.”
"The best Mr Ferguson could do was say the government will 'consider' the recommendations and prepare a response over coming months.”
"Pathetic. He should acknowledge that if the Hodgman Liberal government hadn't made more than $400 million in unaffordable election promises, those services and supports could have been funded yesterday.”
"Yesterday the Premier announced details of $5 million annual woodchip subsidy. Today, communities coming to grips with one of the most addictive drugs yet created are being told they will have to wait.”
"It's all about priorities and this government has got theirs all wrong," Ms O'Connor said.