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A Family's Story

Drugs, Ordeal and Reflection

The testimony of a father and former Member of Victoria Police with his take-home message and some very practical suggestions in this family story:

Kids need to be shown the effects of drugs, not just told.

Society needs to help us protect our kids, before we need protection from them.

We must stop calling illegal, harmful drugs, recreational.

Ecstacy pills

A policy of compulsory rehabilitation is easily implemented, as the vast majority of drug abusers end up in the court system, given the choice of jail or rehabilitation, surely the choice is simple.

As a family we have offered to fund rehab for our daughter, but there is no compulsion for her to stay and the likelihood of her doing so is incredibly slim. We would have been paying a substantial upfront, non-refundable fee.

I’d suggest people, often with other agendas claim that the cost of taxpayer funded, compulsory rehabilitation would be prohibitive. My contention is that even the economic cost of not funding these programs will cost us far more, as the addicts are frequenting our judicial and penal systems, flooding our mental health programs, putting themselves and by their actions others through our public health system, adding to the cost blow-outs of the NDIS. They are a drain on our welfare system, as most become unemployable. Add to that so many other damaging social problems, including the unfortunate children being born into those circumstances.

I will call them advocates for the addicts’ lifestyle, claim that in most cases rehabilitation won’t work, as the addict has got to want to get off drugs. I will expand on this point when talking directly about our daughter, but how while high can an addict make a rational decision on whether they want to get clean?

No child grows up aspiring to be a drug addict, but most addicts have seen what they did aspire to be disappear due to their addiction

Our society allows and almost condones, maybe even facilitates the allowance of our citizens to make the extremely bad choices of putting illegal substances into their bodies. This is all done in the full knowledge that it will destroy their mind, body and their future.

I don’t agree, but let’s entertain the argument that, that is the God given right of the individual to make that choice, that argument doesn’t fly, as their choices effect everyone with whom they come in contact. In many, many cases these choices also lead to irreparable harm and death of many innocent people, who didn’t make the choice to take drugs or be involved in that seedy lifestyle.

Safe injecting rooms prolong lives, rarely save them, they extend the misery and suffering of the addict and create an atmosphere of acceptance of the problem which leads to more addicts and the figures already confirm that and then of course there is again the harms caused to the law-abiding residents in the area and the impact of the value of their properties.

We’ve had a Royal Commission into mental health, another into family violence and yes, there is a broader range of causes than drugs and alcohol, but I believe that overwhelmingly the cause of these epidemics is drugs and alcohol. Clearly, so many of the family violence and mental health issues are the symptom.

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When harm minimization is spoken of, it is only spoken of in the terms of saving the addicts lives.

What about the lives of the individuals and family ‘s that are unlucky enough to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time and are wiped out on the road by a crazed meth addict? And by the way the penalty for driving on meth is the same as low level drunk driving.

What about the parents of many family ‘s, who have been murdered because they have not been prepared to fund the destruction of their child’s body. What about the children in places like Mexico, who are being murdered due to their family ‘s involvement in the drug trade, a drug trade that we play a major part in, by per capita buying more of and paying more for drugs than anywhere else in the world.

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From experience as to how it works in the public health system

From experience with the judicial system

It was very obvious in the police force that it is preferable to put the mental health label on, rather than the drug label.

I see that in the health system and government. That is an ‘out’ for the system and the addict. And incidentally, our daughter doesn’t believe she has a drug issue, she says she has mental health issues therefore, she doesn’t need to quit the drugs. She just needs more prescribed medication for her mental health issues.

Is there a way forward?

As I mentioned earlier, I will now expand on the statement that addicts have to want to get off drugs.

Many times, our daughter has contacted us distraught and desperate for help and many times we’ve dropped everything to rush to give that help and support her.  Sometimes at all hours and as quickly as we can get there and many times, we’ve found ourselves in situations and locations that are almost surreal trying to help someone, that for us as parents is impossible to help.

This person who was so desperate for our help only an hour earlier is now paranoid and delusional and now not only doesn’t want our help, but if she weighed more than her forty kilos, I would be scared of her.

We don’t get the chance to sit down with our daughter when she is rational and free of drugs to offer help, she is never free of drugs and now her mind is truly damaged. Our daughter has told us that a significant part of the reason she takes drugs is to deaden the pain of the past. And yes, that is a common thread, but all her pain came post her first experience with drugs. To have as close to a nice life as possible our daughter needs holistic professional treatment, that is in practical terms not available to her, or anyone else in her predicament.

I have so much more to share, and I hope to get the opportunity to say it to all the people who are in the position to changes things.  But for now, I’ll just finish with this:

illicit drugs aren’t harmful because they’re illegal, they’re harmful because they are mind altering and soul destroying;


criminals won’t go away if drugs are legalised, as they will still produce them cheaper and come up with new drugs, that give bigger highs and cause more harm and yes, people will buy them.