Research Reports and Evaluations - Page 9

be a main reason for accessing services. Methamphetamines were added in the list of illicit substances being used. The issue of methamphetamines has been discussed in a number of different forums across the municipality and data has shown that there is an increase in the use of this substance. Between 2011-12 and 2012-13, the number of methamphetamine related ambulance attendances increased by 88% in metropolitan Melbourne and nearly 200% in regional Victoria. During this time, methamphetamine related emergency department presentations rose 20%.6 This is attributed to an increase in the number of attendances relating to crystal methamphetamine (ice). Ice (crystal methamphetamine) is the 4th most common drug involved in ambulance attendances, following alcohol, benzodiazepines and nonopioid analgesics (such as paracetamol)7. By adding this question we hope to gain greater understanding of the degree to which this may be impacting clients’ needs to access emergency relief. Survey Population Between September 22 2014 and January 27 2015 when the surveys took place, a total of 587 ER assessments were conducted. Of these, 254 people participated in the surveys, a take up rate of 43%. Number of survey respondents for each report since 2002 2002 2006 2010 2014 258 271 261 254 Methodology This survey was conducted by two social work students on placement at WCC and supervised by WCC’s social work qualified caseworker. The role of these students was to introduce the survey and to assist clients (if required) in completing this survey. This was a decision made consciously by WCC to make a clear distinction between the ER assessment and the survey to reinforce to participants that their survey responses would not affect eligibility for ER. The surveys were carried out over a 4 month period from mid September 2014 to mid January 2015. This timeframe coincides with eligibility period for accessing ER8 to ensure returning clients would not be asked to complete the survey twice. Clients willing to participate in the survey were introduced to the students at the conclusion of their ER assessment. They were informed of the voluntary, anonymous and confidential nature of the survey; that it would not affect the clients access to Emergency Relief at Whittlesea Community Connections; and the length of time required to complete the survey. Clients were given a choice of completing the survey on the day or could complete it in their own time either online via a hyperlink given to them or a paper based survey with a stamped self addressed envelope. 6 State Government Victoria (2015), 7 Australian Drug Foundation, 8 This was previously 3 months 8