Tuesday, 29 April 2008

AMA to release damning 'ice' report

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) says it will lobby state and federal governments for new funding to overhaul the way the health system deals with methamphetamine users.

A paper to be released by the AMA today reveals that more than three quarters of methamphetamine users suffer from mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and aggression.

AMA president Rosanna Capolingua says drugs like speed and ice are putting a huge strain on the nation's emergency departments, and she has called for increased funding for both the prevention and treatment of methamphetamine use.

"These people present with violence and aggression so that if they are brought into an emergency department they are very difficult to manage," she said.

"They're threatening to the staff in the hospital that's trying to look after them and very threatening to other people in the hospital, other patients that are there.

"The AMA very much wants to deal with supporting and providing infrastructure and funding for services to treat those patients and people that are already methamphetamine dependant.

"At the same time we have to have community program awareness, prevention, so that we don't have the continuing take-up of methamphetamine use.

"This is serious and it has an impact on the individual and those trying to manage or look after them."

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