The allocation of $4.8 million into extra rehabilitation beds for crystal methamphetamine addicts is welcome, but Health Minister, Michael Ferguson, continues to keep his head in the sand about the seriousness of this issue and the need to invest to stop people from taking up the drug in the first place, Greens’ Health spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP, said today.
“Minister Ferguson has not delivered an effective strategy to combat the use of ice in our community and the harms it causes to individuals, families and children,” Ms O’Connor said.
“The extra rehab beds in the North and North West are desperately needed but extra resources are needed statewide along with a significant allocation towards evidence-based drug education and community resilience programs, like the one being delivered by Rural Health Tasmania with philanthropic funding in Circular Head.”
“This new money won’t prevent one single person from trying ice for the first time and potentially becoming addicted.”
“There’s a reason the Minister made this announcement late on a Sunday. He knows it’s an inadequate response that won’t stand up to detailed scrutiny.”
“It’s the ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ approach and it will do little to stem the tide of human misery, violence and death caused by the growing use of ice in Tasmania.”
“Documents the Greens have obtained under Right to Information show that ice is recognised by Tasmania Police as a ‘considerable issue for policing strategies in Tasmania’, that is, it’s a statewide issue that needs a statewide response.”
“After months of sitting on his hands and underplaying the seriousness of this drug’s impact on Tasmania, Mr Ferguson has taken the easy out. This cannot be the end of the Tasmanian Government’s response to this destructive drug.”
“It must deliver an evidence-based, statewide strategy and allocate the resources needed to save lives,” Ms O’Connor said.