Clinics to treat crystal meth users will be opened in Sydney and Newcastle, NSW health minister John Hatzistergos announced today.

The clinics will be set up at St Vincent’s Hospital and the Royal Newcastle Centre, Hatzistergos said at the opening of the Australasian Amphetamine Conference in Darling Harbour today.

The new clinics would cost $600,000 and improve coordination between drug and alcohol services and mental health services, as well as providing peer support, education programs and referral services, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

St Vincent’s would have access to 20 detoxification beds and six psychiatric care beds, while Newcastle would have access to another 24 detoxification beds.

We recognise the dangers of amphetamine use and we aim to tackle the problem on all levels of government, on a whole-of-government basis, involving the whole of the community, Hatzistergos said.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma welcomed the new clinics, saying crystal, or ice, is a growing problem.

It can be lethal and we bear the consequences in hospitals like St Vincents of the human toll that it is taking.

Earlier this week NSW police commissioner Ken Moroney said crystal was the greatest scourge on the community he had ever seen in his 41 years as a policeman.

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