Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 26 June 2008) . . Page.. 2039 ..
overdoses they attended, amphetamines were 5.5 per cent and methamphetamines were a smaller percentage of that. Whether that means that it is not yet seen as an issue that requires special attention, I do not know. Concerns about the behaviours that some methamphetamine users present might lift it up the list a bit, because there is recognition that users can be quite difficult to deal with.
I appreciate that the committee has suggested that there be a consultative process involving methamphetamine and other psychostimulant users, to determine their needs for treatment. That is a really good way—based on peer education. It is people who use or who have used that will know most about the best way to become an ex-user.
I am interested in the recommendation that we monitor the Victorian trial on pill testing. That is certainly a real concern, as we know that ecstasy and just the illegality of pills makes them unsafe. We do not know what is in them. I hope that we will monitor that Victorian program with a view to introducing it in the ACT.
There are particular groups at risk. We more often worry about children and young people due to the formation of lifelong habits at that stage of life; due to the particular vulnerability of the forming brain; and, perhaps, in some young people more of a tendency to develop risky behaviour. The children who are most at risk are perhaps children in families where illegal drug use is routine, particularly where ice and other potentially harmful drugs are used by older members. In the ACT we are a small enough community that we can identify families like that. It is an issue that can fall across into child abuse and into neglected children. Again, I do not want to fall into the stereotype. That is not always the case, but it can be a side effect. If we care about our kids, we have to care about people who use drugs. (Time expired.)
MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (11.26): I believe this inquiry is significant and timely. As Dr Foskey has just said, it has enabled the committee to focus on this group of illicit drugs and on individuals, families and the community in general and the effect of the drug.
Dr Foskey is correct regarding the variety of reasons why the drug is used—the variety and the varying effects. The inquiry has enabled the committee to examine the services that support harm reduction and any treatments that are available as well as examine the support of affected families and persons that are affected within those families. Members will find that the recommendations, 23 in all, are quite wide ranging. However, they are realistic in their approach.
Illicit drug use is a complex area. The committee found that, as Dr Foskey was saying, poly-drug use and co-morbidity are common. And there is no known pharmacological treatment that can be used in a treatment regime—such as with heroin, for instance. Behavioural issues such as anger and violence are also an issue for families—and not only for families, but also for health workers and other service providers. However, the committee did find that psychosocial interventions may be sufficient with people with milder problems.
The committee made several recommendations to address possible gaps in service delivery, particularly in the support of affected people with children in their care, and