Multi-agency initiative praised for reducing methamphetamine use
The Ministry of Health reports that visits to MethHelp rose by 8,740 between April and September 2013. Above photo shows a screen shot of the METHHELP webpage where information on where and how to get help are available.
State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today praised a multi-agency initiative that has contributed to halving methamphetamine or “P” use in New Zealand since 2009.
The project “Tackling Methamphetamine: An Action Plan” is a cross-agency programme involving the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, NZ Police, Department of Corrections, Te Puni Kokiri, and the NZ Customs Service.
Since the project began in 2009, the estimated number of 16-64 year-old New Zealanders using “P” has dropped from 2.2% to 0.9%. The global average for prevalence of use of amphetamine type substances is 0.7% according to the 2012 United Nations World Drug Report.
“This is a great example of government departments working together across agency boundaries to tackle a complex problem causing harm in our communities,” Mr Rennie said. “This sort of approach will be the new normal for the Public Service – agencies working more closely to deliver better results for New Zealanders,” the Commissioner said.
“The Action Plan is a comprehensive approach in dealing with the methamphetamine problem by controlling supply, reducing demand, and providing better access to treatment,” said DPMC Chief Executive Andrew Kibblewhite.
“The Action Plan was initiated by the Prime Minister in 2009, and DPMC takes a coordinating role. The Plan is about making sure government agencies are effectively working together to achieve the greatest results, reducing the harm methamphetamine produces in our communities. Accountability and assessing progress against clear targets is important to delivering better public services, and that’s why the Action Plan releases six-monthly progress updates,” Mr Kibblewhite said.
To reduce demand, the project has put in place programmes to increase awareness of the risks of “P” use. The Ministry of Health reports that use of meth information and resources has increased with visits to MethHelp rising by 8,740 visits between April and September 2013.
More seeking treatment
The Action Plan is also providing better access to help and support which has resulted in an increase in the number of people seeking treatment. ‘Meth’ related calls received by the Alcohol and Drug Helpline increased from 1,256 in 2009 to 4,180 as of June 2013. The number of Police detainees who have reported participating in an alcohol and drug treatment has also increased from 499 in 2009 to 1,026 in 2013. The Ministry of Health has also reported that number of methamphetamine users who have accessed residential treatment jumped from 36 in 2010 to 660 as of September 2013.
For more information and to see reports on progress against the Action Plan, see http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/dpmc/publications/methamphetamine
Media enquiries: Janryll Fernandez, SSC Communications 021 472 598