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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 12 Hansard (28 October) . .

Page.. 3741..


Mental health—ice addiction

MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, during the estimates process it was recommended that a review be conducted into the number of patients who are admitted to the adult mental health unit suffering ice addiction and ice-related illnesses, yet this recommendation has been rejected. Minister, what has the government done to conduct a review into the number of ice users accessing and using the adult mental health unit?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mrs Jones for her question. Obviously issues around the use of alcohol and other drugs are constant issues for our mental health services when dealing with people particularly with acute mental illness. We do know—indeed it is well understood at a clinical level—that co-dependency around alcohol and drugs is all too often a common aspect of people who are suffering severe mental illness. These factors are well understood and are effectively taken into account through the clinical processes adopted by our doctors and nurses at the adult mental health unit.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Minister, what has the government done to address ice users who are presenting with significant mental health problems, as a result of their use, at our mental health facilities?

MR CORBELL: The question is: what has it done? They are treated in the appropriate clinically indicated manner. That is what should occur. The government is committed to ensuring that we provide further support to front-line community services in terms of education and response to people with that type of drug addition, ice addiction. That is why we provided additional funding earlier this year, in the order of around $800,000, to four front-line community service providers who are working with people with drug addiction, in particular ice addiction, every day, providing them with more resources to employ more staff, to undertake more outreach and engagement and to provide the support needed for people suffering from addiction.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, what has the government done to assist the adult mental health unit and its staff to deal with ice patients?

MR CORBELL: The government provides an appropriate response to the circumstances faced by people working in that clinical environment. They are well trained and they have the staffing, the resources and indeed the support of their clinical leaders to respond to these circumstances. Clearly, ice addiction presents particular challenges, particularly in relation to psychotic episodes and violent behaviour. But these are matters that our staff are trained to address because they are used to facing potential violence, they are used to facing the acute problems that people with that type of addiction can present with, they have the facilities needed to respond to that and they have the training needed to respond to that. So this is no


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