DRUGS — SUPPORT SERVICES
457. Hon SOPHIA MOERMOND to the Leader of the House
representing the Minister for Health:
People who inject drugs are among
the most marginalised and disadvantaged drug users in our society today. They experience multiple negative health consequences,
including a higher risk of fatal overdoses, and are disproportionately
affected by bloodborne infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B and C.
These individuals, who deserve our support, are not usually represented in this
place, and I know that many people in society have little sympathy for the
plight of addicted injecting drug users, but it is not an issue we can just
sweep under the carpet.
(1) What support
services are currently available for injecting drug users in WA and what
pathways for better physical and mental health care do these services offer?
(2) What is the annual budget
allocated by this government for support services for injecting drug users?
(3) Is the
minister currently looking at any models for the introduction of a medically
supervised injecting centre in Western Australia, as has successfully operated
in New South Wales for decades and in Victoria for the last three years?
(4) Has the minister or, to her knowledge, her
predecessor Minister Cook had any discussions with Hon Martin Foley, the
health minister in the Victorian government, who has been responsible for the
highly successful introduction of the supervised injecting centre in Melbourne
that has saved hundreds of lives since it started operations?
(5) If no to (3)
and (4), will Minister Sanderson consider the introduction of a medically
supervised injecting centre in Western Australia to help save lives; and, if
not, why not?
PRESIDENT: Before I give the call to the Leader of the House,
I need to point out that that question is seriously, seriously in breach
of standing order 105. There was both an unacceptably long preamble and a significant
number of questions contained in the question. It was neither concise nor to
the point, which I would like it to be. I have the capacity to rule that
question out of order, but I will see whether the minister has an answer that
she is prepared to give, considering the length of that question. I put you on
notice that the next time that happens, it will definitely be ruled out of
order. Leader of the House, do you have a concise response?
As concise as it can be. It is
actually shorter than the question, so, yes, I do. Thank you for your guidance,
I thank the honourable member for
some notice of the question.
(1) All alcohol
and drug services funded by the Mental Health Commission are available for
injecting drug users. Services include residential programs, telephone support
and counselling services, outpatient counselling and support for individuals
and their families, and transitional support services for people exiting
residential programs. The provision of safe-use education is integrated into
all alcohol and other drug treatment programs. A significant percentage of
people seeking treatment for alcohol and drug use have a history of injecting
Mental Health Commission funds Peer Based Harm Reduction WA to provide the
take-home naloxone program—THN program. The program provides
overdose prevention education and access to naloxone free-of-charge to people
who may be, or come into contact with people who may be, at risk of opioid
overdose, harm and/or death.
(2) In 2021–22, the Mental Health Commission
will provide $76.2 million for alcohol and drug treatment services.
(4) The minister meets with
interstate health ministers regularly.
Supervised injecting centres were considered by the Methamphetamine Action Plan
Taskforce and found not warranted as a harm reduction priority.