ATDC Chief Executive Alison Lai said “the rise in the number of Tasmanians seeking treatment for amphetamines is a trend that has been noticed across our treatment providers.
“Alcohol still remains the number one reason why Tasmanians are seeking support, and the increase in people seeking treatment for amphetamines is most likely due to increased use and availability of crystal methamphetamine, also known as ice across Tasmania.
“Based on the information we have, and from speaking to our members we are aware that there are many Tasmanian seeking treatment that are unable to access it, with many of our services having waitlists.
“We have seen a very strong focus from the Tasmanian and Australian governments on investing in residential rehabilitation treatment services over the last few years.
“These services are vital, however there are other treatment options available for Tasmanians that are in critical need of investment so that Tasmanians can access treatment support when they need it.
“This includes one-on-one and group counselling services, support for families and after-care support for Tasmanians who leave residential rehabilitation.
“Those working in these services are telling us that they’re feeling the pressure of increased workloads, and the need for additional staff to meet demand.
“This is issue is not isolated to just our community service organisations but critical staff shortages are also happening in the alcohol and other drug services provided by the Tasmanian Health Service, particularly on the north-west coast.
“This is an issue that we have raised with the Tasmanian Health Minister.
“Those working in the Tasmanian alcohol and other drugs sector are health professionals working hard and undertaking difficult work in difficult circumstances, but they are reporting low levels of morale, and concerns that the challenges they’re facing are getting lost in amongst the other competing demands across our health system.
“Increased investment is required into alcohol and other drug treatment services and while he number of Tasmanians seeking specific treatment support for alcohol and other drugs may represent a small portion of people entering the health system, the impact of alcohol and other drugs is significant. Particularly alcohol, which continues to be a major contributing factor to issues like homelessness, family violence, high numbers of people presenting to our emergency departments and mental health.