Forgot Password

Sign In


  • Company Information

  • Billing Address

  • Are you primarily interested in advertising *

  • Do you want to recieve the HealthTimes Newsletter?

More rehab beds needed to beat ice addiction in NT

NT can't arrest its way out of ice problem
Photo: NT can't arrest its way out of ice problem
A Darwin rehab clinic predicts there will be a need for 50 more beds across the NT by October to cope with demand from ice addicts seeking treatment.

The Northern Territory cannot arrest its way out of the ice drug problem, says the head of a Darwin rehabilitation centre.

On Monday the government launched its ice action plan at Banyan House rehab centre, announcing a communications plan of more than $1 million to improve community education, to raise awareness that help is available, as well as declaring its intention to strengthen laws and interstate intelligence sharing, and to encourage safer practices for drug users.

The plan is a step in the right direction, particularly due to its promotion of the fact that help is available and affordable, said Banyan House chief executive Chris Franck.
He said treatment at his centre costs $185 per week for patients, compared to up to $30,000 per week at interstate clinics.

"There is a place for law enforcement but we cannot arrest ourselves out of this problem, we have to treat and educate ourselves out of this problem," he told reporters.

He said there had been a rapid increase in users seeking treatment: in March last year the clinic treated one person for ice addiction, and by last August 17 of the clinic's 24 beds were occupied by ice addicts.

But funding for Banyan House has remained stable for five years even as demand has increased, representing a cut in funding in real terms, and Mr Franck said he "did not have extremely high hopes" of getting more money.

"We try to suck every drop we can out of every dollar; at this point in time we cope, but if the increase continues as it has over the last year we will run out of funds and won't be able to do what we need to do," he said.

He predicted that if the trend continued, by October Banyan House would have to turn people away, and that 50 more beds would be needed at rehab centres across the NT to meet the demand.

Mr Franck said the real problem would be if Banyan House had to turn away detoxing addicts.

"They probably have to go back to the emergency department, which is an increase of people knocking on the doors of hospitals, and that is a very expensive service that we should probably keep for the more critical (cases)," he said.

Chief Minister Adam Giles said there had been "a huge amount of expenditure" across government to fight ice but couldn't say if there had been an increase of funding in any area.
"I can see in time to come there's going to be a larger challenge and government will have to respond," he said.


Thanks, you've subscribed!

Share this free subscription offer with your friends

Email to a Friend

  • Remaining Characters: 500