Ice scourge leaves families ‘begging for help’
SPEAKING from her lounge room, softly stroking a solidly built dog which formerly belonged to her ice-addicted daughter, a desperate mum poured her heart out about her only child's heartbreaking descent into ice addiction.
And she pleaded, again and again, for governments to act swiftly to tackle what she described as an "enormous", worsening crystal meth scourge in Mackay and surrounds.
The Mackay single mother, aged in her 50s, said her daughter once drove heavy vehicles at mine sites while high on the destructive drug, claiming her daughter dodged drug tests with synthetic urine purchased online.
The mum wished to speak to the Mercury anonymously, afraid of violent repercussions from her daughter, aged in her 30s, if her drug habit was publicly outed.
"It all started and escalated from when she was 16. I don't think it dropped off at all," the mother said.
"It led from speed and marijuana... the wrong crowd, peer pressure. You don't get told a lot from the kids, just a lot of lies.
"I thought I had a good relationship with my daughter. And you go into denial. I mean 'we come from such a great background, we're all successful, surely this can't be happening'. But it is and was."
Coming forward after the Daily Mercury wrote about a Mackay dad whose son and daughter were battling ice addictions, the mum hoped her story would remind other parents struggling to cope they're certainly not alone.
"You just don't want to come out and speak to anyone, because of the stigma. People just think of you as the parents of the drug addict," she said.
"You isolate yourself, you keep denying it's happening, you blame mental illness - 'that's why she sleeps all day for five days straight'. People are judgemental and you cover for them and you.
"Ice is just everywhere. People in good careers (are on it). So many people are on it and they will deny it.
"The drug's got cheaper too. It was probably a niche drug years ago - not anymore. Now, it's definitely getting out there. Now families are copping it and people are on their knees begging for help."
The daughter was recently sent to rehabilitation in southern Queensland after a long, emotional struggle with her mum, at a cost of about $20,000 (thankfully, "covered by private health").
"Before that, there was so many violent incidents. Lots and lots. You try and talk to them but you don't understand where they're coming from. It's a continuous pattern. A record on repeat.
"They think they're normal. But they get angry, aggressive, whatever you say is wrong, they're argumentative and they push your buttons.
"I have been threatened and pushed by my daughter. I had to get a Domestic Violence Order out the night before she went to rehab.
"Once they run out of the substance, especially, it gets very ugly.
"She got off it briefly, to get into the mining industry, but then it was right back to it."
Sadly, the mum was not optimistic rehab would help, but was hopeful it might, in some shape or form - and, at the very least, she was safe in her own home, for a time.
"I don't think these local support services really get it. We, the families, and the reformed addicts, get it. They don't."
"You do so much research online and on a local level, but you say to your daughter or son or whatever that help is available and they say 'I don't have an issue. I don't know why you're doing this, you just want to make life hard for me. Oh, that's bulls**t, I don't want to be stuck in there'.
"And they've already lost their support networks by that stage.
"Also, it has to be them, the addicts, who want to get help, but we, the parents, desperately need help too.
"To politicians, I say that mental health workers and other support service staff do not get this problem. They deal with general mental health issues. We need specialised services, dealing with people who have drug related issues, mental health issues. Who have hands-on experience, that have either walked in the shoes, who are ex-addicts, or parents with an insight.
"The current services just have no idea. No idea."
LISTEN: Dawson MP on ice rehab funding
Mackay and Townsville will share in $11.6 million in funding across north Queensland to combat "the scourge of ice" in our communities, Dawson MP George Christensen said this week.
He added a call for tenders would soon be released with existing and new local groups able to apply for funding.
"...the chair of the Primary Health Network for North Queensland (chairman Trent Twomey) said it's a fantastic start...," Mr Christensen said.
"I wouldn't underestimate the ability of local service providers to really ramp up efforts in prevention and rehabilitation regarding ice."
However, Mr Christensen conceded getting ice addicts to actually use rehabilitation services was difficult.
"It's a problem the state will need to address... when family are dealing with someone beyond the point of self-control."
- The mum urged those seeking help to head to contact Family Drug Support at http://www.fds.org.au or by calling 1300 368 186 or Crystal Meth Anonymous - http://www.crystalmeth.org.au - but said she'd also like to start a locally based support group dedicated to helping families and carers of ice addicts.
- Get in touch through the Mercury, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be glad to pass on contact details.