Northlanders wanting to get off methamphetamine addictions will get a helping hand with the Government giving $3.2 million to four meth harm reduction programmes in the region.
Surveys have shown that Northland has the highest meth usage rate in the country. The National Wastewater Testing Programme showed an increase in the presence of methamphetamine throughout New Zealand last year.
Regional variations in drug use were also identified with meth use shown to be most prevalent per capita in Northland.
In Northland it's estimated that 1100mg of methamphetamine is used in one week per 1000 people, well up on the 990mg per 1000 in the Eastern District, 800mg in the Bay of Plenty and 780mg in Auckland.
Now more programmes have been funded through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to reduce the damage methamphetamine use is causing in regional New Zealand, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said.
On Friday Jones announced that $6.7m will go to nine programmes around the country to address the terrible toll meth is taking on people in the regions, their families and whānau, and communities. Northland providers will receive $3.2m.
"Businesses across New Zealand have told us it is difficult to employ people with drug problems. Particularly in our current economic climate, it is important that regional businesses have reliable workforces. It is also incredibly important for people to have the tools to deal with addiction so that they can get and keep jobs," Jones said.
The funding is part of the $20m allocated from the PGF in July to fight meth harm in the regions.
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"These programmes will support more than 2000 people and create opportunities for them including employment," Jones said.
"These providers work alongside their communities and incorporate strategies including improving access to treatment, drop-in hubs, kaupapa Māori approaches, peer support and after-hours support.''
The four Northland programmes:
■ Ngati Hine Social Services will get $600,000 to run He Waka Toki. It aims to help up to 400 people over two years.
■ Nga Manga Puriri will receive $630,000 for its Whakamana Tangata programme which will establish a drop-in centre in Dargaville. It will target up to 500 people over two years.
■ Hokianga Health will receive $999,990 to run Te Kapehu programme which will deliver interventions through tikanga and cultural responses and develop and support pathways. It will support up to 184 people over two years.
■ Te Runanga o Whangaroa will receive $990,000 to run Te Whare Ruruhau programme. This programme will target up to 40 people per year over two years.