Pay rises for the sick, who just get sicker
The Dom Post has a story on the blowout in numbers of drug and alcohol addicts recieving sickness and invalids benefits. This has been a problem for years. Those on the sickness and unemployment benefits get $219.25, and if you transfer to the invalids benefit - as many are doing - you get $277.50. That's more than students get.
The problem is that the 5279 on such benefits because of these problems are not required to get treatment. However they can be put on literacy and numeracy programmes but Work and Income isn't bothering to do this, either. Wouldn't it be better puttting the extra $52.25 into drug and alcohol rehab for these people instead?
We have a classic " I am confident" comment from the Minister
However, Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson said she was confident that programmes such as Paths (Providing Access to Health Solutions) ensured alcohol- and drug-affected beneficiaries got the treatment they neededThis is despite giving National MP Judith Collins the miniscule numbers, that majority who are not hard druggies, but have ill health or disabilities, or are stressed or depressed. And in the very next sentence, the report explains that they are not getting the treatment they need.
Ms Reade said case managers could not force beneficiaries into treatment programmes.That's not the issue. They don't even have to encourage them to get treatment either. PATHS doesn't even assist drug and alcohol abusers unless they are stressed or depressed, and many who exit a benefit after PATHS go back on the benefit. It's more likely to give people gym memberships or physiotherapy.
Until compulsory intervention of drug use is introduced, we taxpayers will continue to divert money which could be used to reduce hospital and Court waiting lists and provide road maintenance, into keeping these people in the manner to which they have become accustomed.
And on a side issue, the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis party has today put out a call for candidates. Perhaps they should put up posters at Work and Income offices.
More here: Why can't WINZ force druggies to get treatment