Police conducting roadside drug testing in Perth and around the state, as well as workplace drug testing firms, are more likely to record positive tests for methamphetamines or ICE here than in any other part of Australia.
Why Western Australia and Perth specifically? A major drug testing monitoring program has regularly found that Western Australians are the highest users of the drug ICE in the nation. Adding to this, in the latest round of monitoring, Perth led the way for highest average capital city consumption of the drug.
These might not be mantles that any city or state would want, so what’s being done to tackle ICE in Perth and Western Australia?
Tackling ICE in WA
As well as roadside and workplace drug testing in Perth and WA, there is a lot being done to try to reduce ICE use and its related harms.
For example, the Government of Western Australia’s Mental Health Commission has developed and implemented the Methamphetamine Action Plan or MAP. Since 2017, the WA government has allocated nearly $250 million to MAP initiatives. This includes:
- Early intervention treatment facilities.
- Further specialists drug services in rural and regional areas where the need is greatest.
- Drug and alcohol programs in schools.
- Drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities for WA’s prisoners.
- The establishment of a Meth Border Force.
- Increasing roadside drug testing and alcohol testing in Perth and WA.
Drug testing the waters in Perth and WA
The drug testing monitoring program we refer to above is the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program. The program regularly tests the wastewater in sites surrounding cities and regional areas. The sites cover well over 50 per cent of the Australian population.
While average ICE consumption increased in regional areas of WA in the latest round of monitoring that was reported in June this year, the trend is more promising. For example, in the October 2016 monitoring period, estimated consumption was over 2200 mg per 1000 people per day in Perth, compared with around 900 in the most recent period. In regional areas, the highest recording was close to 2300 mg in August 2016. For the latest period the amount was around 800 mg.
Many other drugs of concern are also monitored in the program, including alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, heroin, cannabis, fentanyl and ketamine. WA had the 2nd highest average regional use of the drug MDA in the latest reporting period.
As well as highlighting the ICE issues in Perth and WA, the program has also identified that Australia consumes more ICE than 25 other countries that have similar monitoring programs in place. This means that Perth and WA are leading the way when it comes to ICE consumption.
Let’s hope the trend can continue to be turned around.
As well as roadside and workplace drug testing in Perth and WA, there is a lot being done to reduce ICE use and its related harms. Credit Chris LaBarge https://unsplash.com/photos/Q5hfFmQfpAk