New methamphetamine programmes

Odyssey Christchurch staff with Christchurch Men’s Assistant Prison Director Industry Rehabilitation and Learning Pablo Godoy (far right). Corrections has secured $2.1 million from the Proceeds of Crime fund to pilot four new interventions aimed at understanding and treating meth use amongst prisoners. Since 18 September new meth programmes are being offered at a number of prison sites across the country.

Commonly called ‘P’, ‘meth’, or ‘ice,’ methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant, with effects more potent than other illegal substances such as ecstasy and cocaine.

Four Odyssey House staff started working full-time at Mt Eden Corrections Facility delivering the new meth interventions  for over 2,000 remandees (prisoners awaiting trial or sentencing), as they are known to have a high prevalence of alcohol and other drug (AOD) use but limited access to interventions. “This programme provides a proactive and early intervention for those not actively seeking help for substance use,” says Director Programmes and Interventions Juanita Ryan.

Other meth programmes, also delivered by Odyssey House staff, are held at Spring Hill Corrections Facility (SHCF), Auckland and Christchurch men’s prisons, and use a harm reduction model to promote healthy lifestyle and drug free choices. Over the next 21 months more than 400 offenders will participate.

SHCF is also piloting an integrated programme with a strong well-being focus, addressing the prevalence of mental health presentations in participants who have meth and AOD problems.

“We’re strengthening our current alcohol and drug programmes and responding to changing drug use patterns and associated harms. These interventions are all designed to improve our response to meth use, reduce treatment barriers, enhance well-being, and increase treatment options,” says Juanita.