7 Dec 2015

Australia to spend $300m to fight Meth 'epidemic'

12:05 pm on 7 December 2015

Australia's government is to spend more than $A300 million on a new strategy for tackling methamphetamine.


Photo: 123rf

A report from a national taskforce has found more than 200,000 Australians have used the drug and that amounts to an epidemic.

The government has agreed to adopt 38 of the taskforce's recommendations aimed at improving prevention and treatment methods.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said methamphetamine use was proportionally higher in Australia than almost anywhere else.

"Too many Australians, especially young Australians, are harming themselves and others through the use of methamphetamines, especially Ice."

Mr Turnbull said the allocation of most of the money would be decided by medical and health professionals who worked with the people affected by the drug.

The Labor party's assistant health spokesman, Stephen Jones, said he welcomed the investment but the government had already cut funding to health twice.

"We want to ensure that this is genuinely new money, they're not robbing Peter to pay Paul. Secondly, that there is going to be some security of funding for the drug and alcohol treatment programmes," he said.

"One of the things that the sector has been crying out about for the last two years is short term funding, means they can't deal with long term problems."