Meth in Esperance, local agencies battle use and demand

Local drug and alcohol treatment agencies are working to reduce the high use and demand for methamphetamine in Esperance.

A report launched on Thursday, April 5 by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission found methamphetamine use in WA had continued to increase and was higher in regional WA than anywhere else in Australia.

The Mental Health Commission said in Esperance 57 per cent of alcohol and other drugs treatment episodes had amphetamine type stimulants as their primary drug of concern in 2017.

This was higher than the rate of the greater Goldfields region at 45 per cent.

The Mental Health Commission said the Esperance Shire’s Strategic Community Plan 2017-2027 noted a challenge facing the community was ‘mental health issues and a significant rise in drug usage’.

Hope Community Services holds a contract to run drug and alcohol services in Esperance.

Hope counsellor and prevention officer Suzanne Pinker said there was a ‘huge’ amount of drug and alcohol use in the community.

“We don’t know exactly why Esperance, but the sense is that there is a port and wherever there’s a port there seems to be more drug use” she said. 

Ms Pinker said because Esperance was ‘isolated’ many people felt disconnected and this needed to be addressed to tackle and prevent drug use.

“With people who have meth issues we look at the other aspects of their life,” she said.

“We are trying to establish a healthy community.

“Meth is a social problem.”

Ms Pinker said there were many services available but people were not always accessing those services.

She said patients addicted to meth frequently visited their doctors and she encouraged doctors to advise their patients to attend free events and access services.

WA Police minister Michelle Roberts said the state was working to fight the use and effects of methamphetamine in Esperance and had funded an additional worker at the local Goldfields Alcohol and Drug Service.

O’Connor MP Rick Wilson said Esperance was not immune to regional WA’s methamphetamine problem.

“The government is doing everything it can to stop the scourge of ice in WA,” he said.

For free help, call the Alcohol and Drug Support Line on 1800 198 024.

To contact Hope Community Services in Esperance call (08) 9071 5169.

The Meth Helpline is also available 24/7 on 1800 874 878 for anyone concerned about their own or another person’s meth use.