Ex-addict supports welfare drug testing

Sophie Moore

Western Australia's health minister says the federal government's plan to drug test thousands of welfare recipients is "victim blaming".

Roger Cook says the Turnbull government's proposed trial doesn't recognise the complexity of drug addiction.

But former methamphetamine user Tom de Souza disagrees, saying any way of breaking the cycle of drug abuse was worth it.

"When you're stuck in this cycle it's very difficult to take responsibility for yourself," he said.

Appearing alongside Health Minister Roger Cook at the release of an interim report by the Methamphetamine Action Plan Taskforce, Mr de Souza said there was no silver bullet to solve the state's drug problem.

"There's no simple answer really," the 23-year-old told reporters on Tuesday.

He began injecting ice when he was 14 and says he still suffers side effects since he completed rehabilitation four years ago.

"The hardest part was not giving up the drug but rebuilding my life and learning how to live again," he said.

Discussing an interim report on Tuesday, taskforce chair Ron Alexander said community consultation had revealed most meth users had an underlying trauma which made them vulnerable to long-term drug use.

"There's certainly a stigma towards meth users and it sometimes prevents them seeking help."

Mr Alexander, whose task force is funded by the McGowan government $45 million, four-year "Methamphetamine Action Plan", said he had witnessed great courage in those struggling with drug addiction in rehabilitation facilities.

He said people blamed users for their addiction and it was difficult to sell the message that meth users needed help when the majority of violent crime was drug and alcohol-related.

"But if it's not just for the sake of humanity, if it's just for the sake of your family and others then we need to help these people," he said.

The task force will hand down its recommendations in a final report later this year.