The Government has announced in today’s budget that they will provide $4 million over four years for Te Ara Oranga in Northland.
“We are extremely pleased to receive this news, especially for our communities, who are at the forefront of methamphetamine harm in Northland,” offered Dr Nick Chamberlain, Chief Executive, Northland DHB.
“We acknowledge that addiction is a community issue and have proven that having a suite of services that can be tailored to each patient while also offering support for whānau makes this programme of treatment and Te Ara Oranga work.”
The 2018 Te Ara Oranga evaluation report highlighted a number of interesting insights about the need for health services, the value of screening at the point of first contact, and the value of having community co-ordinators as an essential point of engagement with whānau and communities.
There was also positive community reception to police being engaged as both a referral point for health services and their enforcement activities.
“Police are committed to working with Northland DHB through integrating health and police activities, which is central to the success of Te Ara Oranga,” said Project Manager Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Varnam.
“Between August 2018 and 30 March 2019, police made 99 arrests, executed 79 search warrants, issued 29 Reports of Concern for 76 children, seized 30 firearms and referred 305 people for treatment.”
Meanwhile, district health board methamphetamine focused clinicians have been managing 803 cases since August 2017.
Te Ara Oranga’s employment service Employment Works, located at Dargaville Hospital have received 116 referrals (since August 2017), assisted 48 people into new work, helped 7 people in employment at risk of losing their jobs helped stay in work, placed 18 people on training/ unpaid work experience and 8 people into unpaid voluntary work.
In 2017 Te Ara Oranga, a joint initiative between Police and Northland DHB was allocated funding for the 12-month pilot from the Proceeds of Crime Fund sourced through the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009.
The initial 12-month funding was for the establishment phase (new treatment options/ referral pathways) and recruitment of health and police personal. Te Ara Oranga was operational from October 2017. Police have continued to resource the team of eight staff in Northland and the DHB had received further funding until June 2019.
“Many people and groups have visited us to see what’s so special about Te Ara Oranga. Our work to reduce methamphetamine demand here in Northland is based on working together in communities to provide a range of services, knowing that together we can provide services when and where they are needed.
“The commitment of funding will ensure that we can continue to work on reducing the harm of methamphetamine in our communities,” Dr Chamberlain said.