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Ice users overwhelm under-funded hospitals

AAP logoAAP 2/08/2016

WA's doctors have called for emergency workers to get more funding to deal with "angry, aggressive and unpredictable" ice users, the Australian Medical Association says.

The remarks come after the release of results this week of an analysis of the state's sewage indicated WA residents use two tonnes of methamphetamine every year, the equivalent of 57,000 hits or doses a day.

However, little had been done despite methamphetamine use being a major issue in hospitals, with soaring incidences of violent users that often need eight to 10 staff to control them, AMA WA emergency medicine spokesman Dave Mountain said.

"It's completely changed the environments that we work in and the society that's going on around us and we have seen no additional resources put in.

"There's been no increase in the last few years in drug and alcohol services, some have been pruned back and we have very little ability to get people acutely into rehabilitation beds."

An ice summit was held in Perth in 2007, yet no additional resources have been implemented in the nine years since then, and the key recommendations from the summit have been ignored.

Dr Mountain rejected the government's proposed forced rehabilitation programs initiative, saying it would be ineffective as users are unlikely to be in the right head space and subsequently relapse.

Police Minister Liza Harvey had committed $15 million this year to boost services, including rehabilitation beds.

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