Confronting meth: Falling Through the Cracks series to examine Mandurah's drug problems - Week One

Confronting meth: Falling Through the Cracks series to examine Mandurah's drug problems - Week One

Our health providers handed out almost 175,000 clean needles to Mandurah drug users in the first six months of 2019 - showing the size and scale of methamphetamine use in our community.

Over the next four weeks, the Mandurah Mail will release our Falling Through the Cracks series - a detailed look at how methamphetamine is having a devastating impact on local drug users and the wider community at large.

We will explore how rising levels of meth use across the Peel region is linked to homelessness and why the potent and highly addictive stimulant is intertwined with issues around crime and safety.

We will talk to the service providers and authorities, who have a gargantuan task in kickstarting a societal shift to rid our community of this debilitating and dangerous drug.

And we will detail the harrowing stories of past drug users, whose lives have fallen to pieces as they became self-confessed slaves to meth.

The most-recent National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program report by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, released earlier this year, makes for stark reading.

Results showed that in regional areas across the country, Western Australia was adjudged to have the highest average levels of meth consumption.

Of all Australian capital cities, Perth had the second-highest average use of meth, only behind Adelaide.

Looking at 25 countries with comparable data, Australia ranks as the second highest in the world after the United States for total estimated consumption.

It is clear that meth is having a significant impact on our community and Western Australia as a whole.

As such, it appears the current plans for tackling drug use are not having the desired impact and a change of strategy in addressing the meth scourge is needed.

In week one, we talk to Andrew Bennell - a Mandurah father who said he had been arrested more than 100 times by police for committing crimes while under the influence of meth.

We look at the sheer number of needles being distributed to local drug users, in an effort to avoid the spread of diseases and to keep used needles off our streets.

Jettrude McGlade recounts how meth has played a seismic role in ruining her life and those of her family and friends.

Finally, editor Gareth McKnight has written a comment piece explaining the Falling Through the Cracks series and what we hope to achieve by exploring this societal issue in detail.