Wednesday, November 3, 2021

The West Coast is taking a fresh approach to tackle the harm methamphetamine causes in the community.

New Zealand Police

A new Navigator role has been established on the West Coast to coordinate help for people impacted by the use of methamphetamine.  

These people may not know what services and support are available, and isolation and travel can make it hard for them to access help.

The new role will help connect them with the right services for their specific needs.

James Tainui a vocational support worker at PACT will be taking up the navigator role.  He says he’s looking forward to the challenge and isn’t expecting it to be all smooth sailing.

“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.”

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

“Another big aspect will be bringing all the NGOs together and being the go-between to help them work together more-effectively.”

As part of his new role, James will also provide advice and support in the creation of further programmes to address methamphetamine harm on the West Coast.

West Coast Area Commander Inspector Jacqueline Corner says reducing the impact that methamphetamine causes in the community is a real priority for Police.

“Our objective really is 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”.

The Methamphetamine Impact Group had its first meeting in October 2020 after the West Coast Cross Sector Forum identified methamphetamine harm as a priority action it needed to address.

Current members of the MIG include Ara Poutama Aotearoa (Department of Corrections), Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand Police, Oranga Tamariki, West Coast DHB, and non-govenrment organisations that provide programmes that address meth use including The Salvation Army, and MHERC.

The group’s overall aim is to reduce the harm caused by methamphetamine and increase the wellbeing of communities on the West Coast.  The group recognises the enormous impacts and cost of meth, on the person that might be using, their whanau, their neighbours, and community at large. It’s not a problem that any one agency or group can tackle on their own.   The group is starting by joining up efforts to get support within reach of those that need it.

Ara Poutama Aotearoa’s partnership and involvement within the Methamphetamine Impact Group is pivotal in addressing the serious underlying methamphetamine issue that West Coast region faces, Acting District Manager for Nelson, Marlborough and the West Coast, Paul Watson says.

“Through partnership we will be able to provide targeted interventions for those individuals, not only under the care of Ara Poutama Aotearoa, but through wider community identification via cross-sector engagement and interactions.

“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."

Craig Churchill from the Ministry of Social Development, says addressing the impacts of Meth is a key priority for the region.

“The new navigator role provides an opportunity for agencies to become more joined-up to deliver better community support and interventions to help people get and stay meth free”.

Director of West Coast Bridge Services at The Salvation Army, Sue Hay, says The Salvation Army is committed to seeing the harm caused by methamphetamine reduced in West Coast Communities.

“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.”

“We look forward to collaborating with other agencies to ensure this new role improves access to addiction treatment services. 

James Tainui has been in the role since August 1, though the official announcement was delayed due to the nationwide Level Four COVID lockdown.

Police and partner agencies held a program launch on Tuesday 2 November at the Arahura Marae to formally introduce Mr Tainui into the new role.

Pigeon Post News

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