PEOPLE at the coal face of the region’s drug epidemic are divided on an audacious push to legalise parents forcing their drug-affected kids into rehabilitation.
While the mother of a drug addict believes her daughter wouldn’t be in custody for allegedly dealing ice if she had have been allowed to intervene last year, a health professional has labelled the calls a pie-in-the-sky idea that could create further problems.
"I support it 100 per cent. We should be able to force our kids into rehab."- Mother of ice addict
Independent senator Jacqui Lambie this week called for national legislation changes that would enable parents to force their drug-ravaged children into rehab, in the wake of revealing her 21-year-old son’s struggle with ice.
A Wagga mother has thrown her support behind Senator Lambie after watching ice take hold of her 25-year-old daughter, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
“I support it 100 per cent,” the mother said. “We should be able to force our kids into rehab.”
The woman, who maintains drug addiction should be considered a health issue over a criminal issue, says forced rehab would have helped her daughter to be the loving and caring person she always was.
“No question (it would have been different if forced rehab was an option),” the mother said. “I would have done it, absolutely.”
Her daughter, a mother of two, spiralled into addiction when she suffered depression and fell into the wrong crowd.
“There’s no words to describe it, it tears my heart apart,” she said.
While Calvary Riverina Drug and Alcohol Centre manager, Brendan McCorry, empathised with drug-affected families at their wit’s end, he believed seeking treatment as a family was a more effective option than forcing unwilling kids into rehab.
“(Forced rehab) criminalises the addiction even more,” Mr McCorry said.
“I think (the government) need to enhance existing services and strengthen them up because a lot of families put in a lot of effort trying to help.”
Mr McCorry fears forcing kids into rehab will saturate limited resources and cause overcrowding.
“It does create problems as well as a possible solution,” he said.
“All exposure to treatment has benefits. I can understand why families want to put them (kids) somewhere safe, but treatment centres are not lock down.”