2 Nov 2021

New 'navigator' to reduce methamphetamine harm on the West Coast

6:33 pm on 2 November 2021

A new 'navigator' role has been created on the West Coast to support people impacted by methamphetamine, police say.

James Tainui

James Tainui Photo: SUPPLIED

Police said in a statement said that the navigator role was a "fresh approach" to tackle the harm methamphetamine causes. They would help people access support, navigating barriers of isolation and travel.

James Tainui from mental health support service PACT took on the role in August, but the announcement has been delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

"I'm most excited about targeting the very real problem of methamphetamine in our community and helping find not just a service, but the right service to help them," he said.

"A big part of this role will be convincing people in need that they actually need help."

Tainui said he aimed to bring NGOs together and be the go-between to help them work more effectively.

He will also advise on creating further programmes to tackle methamphetamine harm in the region.

West Coast Area Commander Inspector Jacqueline Corner said the priority was to address demand through prevention and intervention.

"While police will assist in identifying those who require targeted support the new navigator role will be that conduit for providing the necessary services to those in particular need. This is the navigator's primary purpose and provides the community with a pathway to those services that has not been there before."

Several organisations partnered last year to create the Methamphetamine Impact Group, which identified methamphetamine harm as a priority action.

Ara Poutama Aotearoa (Corrections) is one of the group's members. Its acting district manager for Nelson, Marlborough and the West Coast Paul Watson said the partnership allows it to provide "targeted interventions".

"Having PACT involved within this partnership, and through their navigator, we will have a clear conduit between those identified wanting support, and appropriate intervention pathways."

Salvation Army West Coast Bridge Services director Sue Hay said The Salvation Army - also a member of the group - looked forward to working with other agencies to ensure the new role improves access to addiction treatment services.

"The navigator role will connect people with a range of groups offered by The Salvation Army Bridge on the West Coast and I anticipate this will interrupt the cycle of substance use much sooner than is currently the case."

The programme was officially launched at the Arahura Marae today.

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