Jacqui Lambie calls for addiction to be included in Mental Health Act

MENTAL ILLNESS: Senator Lambie believes that there is not enough being done to combat ice addiction in Tasmania. Picture: Paul Scambler.
MENTAL ILLNESS: Senator Lambie believes that there is not enough being done to combat ice addiction in Tasmania. Picture: Paul Scambler.

Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has called for states to amend the Mental Health Act to label drug and alcohol addictions as mental illnesses

The act has been in place since 2013, and provides scope for compulsory treatment to be ordered for those suffering with mental illness by a Mental Health Tribunal.

This would allow the tribunal to authorise a compulsory six-month treatment plan for an ice addict that can take place in a public hospital, or by a community provided service.

A spokesperson for the senator said that Ms Lambie believed those suffering from addiction do not have the capacity to provide informed consent for treatment, and should be included in the act.

Senator Lambie also stated that education should be more readily available to school age adolescents about the dangers of illicit drugs, especially methamphetamine. 

“I've been calling for more money to be put into tackling the ice epidemic this state is facing, but it's taken until this year for the money we'd been promised to start flowing in to Tasmania,” she said. 

“I want to see parents to be given the right to intervene and break the cycle of addiction for their children.”

Tasmanian ALP Senator Helen Polley agreed that more funding should be injected into rehabilitation resources.

“Drug addiction is a medical condition and [state and federal governments] have failed to address in the state and federal budgets adequate funding and resources for those people seeking rehabilitation,” Mrs Polley said.

Federal funding includes $800,000 per year for four years to Missiondale in 2016, while the Tasmanian state government pledged $5.2 million to drug rehab services in 2015.

A spokesman for Liberal Senator Eric Abetz said that Mr Abetz was not in a position to comprehensively comment on the state act

“Mr Abetz is always eager to hear ideas on how to deal with the scourge of drugs in the community and he looks forward to this suggestion being subject to expert advice and analysis,” he said.