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WA's forced meth rehab plans progressing

AAP logoAAP 28/07/2016

Plans to force methylamphetamine users to undergo rehabilitation are progressing but won't be rushed, the WA government says.

Meth use in WA has exceeded the national average in recent years, fuelling a double digit growth in crime, and prompting the WA government to look at how other jurisdictions are combating the problem.

WA Police Minister Liza Harvey says a forced rehab scheme is being used in New Zealand and a trial is underway in NSW, which she says has achieved a 75 per cent success rate.

Under the plan, a desperate family member can apply to the drug court to force a relative to undergo treatment or the drug user can sign themselves up "in a moment of clarity", Ms Harvey said.

WA Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell said cabinet had approved proceeding with the proposed legislation and several colleagues want it moved quickly.

"We will be as close as we possibly can by the end of this year. This is not something we're sitting on," she told 6PR radio on Thursday.

But she said the drafting the legislation would not be rushed, despite the possibility the Barnett government may lose office in the state election next March.

"If you don't get it right, you will be criticised for a long, long time," Ms Mitchell said.

WA Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said Labor would support the plan if it was sensible, but criticised the Liberal government for taking eight years to devise a meth-tackling proposal.

Mr McGowan said members of his family struggle with addiction and it's difficult to get voluntary treatment.

"People who want to get access to treatment, it's very hard to get it, let alone those people who don't," he told reporters.

Opposition corrective services spokesman Paul Papalia said some addicts travel to the Northern Territory and Malaysia to get treatment.

"There are a lot of people who want to get rehabilitated right now and they can't get into a bed," Mr Papalia told AAP.

Mr Papalia said crime was "completely out of control" in WA, largely due to meth use.

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