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More detox beds not enough - dad whose son died from synthetics

Newshub logoNewshub 6 days ago Cleo Fraser
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The Government has announced it will use $16.7 million from the proceeds of crime to boost the number of drug detox beds in Auckland from 20 to 30.

A father whose son died from the effects of synthetic cannabis says it's a good start, but much more help is needed.

Luxury cars and motorbikes bought with alleged drug money will be used to help addicts, says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"This seems like an entirely appropriate use of that funding."

Some $16.7 million from the proceeds of crime kitty will fund 10 extra drug detox beds at the Auckland City Mission.

Its CEO, Chris Farrelly, says demand has spiked and more resources will make a huge difference.

"The majority of people going through our services are detoxing from methamphetamines, P, and of course now we have the new synthetics on our streets, which is an evil concoction."

There are currently just 20 beds across the Auckland region, 10 of which are for medical detox. The others are for what's called social detox. The new funding will mean an extra 10 beds.

Lewis Jones' son, Calum, died after smoking synthetic cannabis. He's been fighting to get more rehab and detox funding, as there were long delays in getting his son help.

Mr Jones says 10 more beds is a start, but it's not enough.

"I think we probably need that 30 alone specifically just for synthetics," he says.

"I think people underestimate the amount of people that are pushing this on the streets."

Johnny Dow from Higher Ground rehab centre says more detox beds are great, but to help addicts there need to be least 100 rehabilitation beds in Auckland alone, "to cater for the population that are crying out for treatment". He says if things don't change, the amount of money in the proceeds of crime account will continue to rise.

"The average spend for methamphetamine for a person coming here is around $2000 a week, so to do that you need to commit crime or do other things to make that money."

People wanting to detox currently have to wait up to two months for a placement in Auckland.

The new beds won't be available for another two years. It was also revealed on Wednesday that all detox beds, including the new ones, will sit under one roof - the new City Mission development, which will open in 2020.

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