New South Wales’ first drug detox and rehabilitation centre dedicated to helping youth in crisis opens its doors today.
The David Martin centre at Knights Hill, in the Illawarra, offers a special program for young people who have a history of illicit substance abuse.
Former ice addict Jade, 23, is an inpatient.
At 15, Jade started taking illicit drugs and smoking cannabis and then became addicted to methamphetamine.
“I had everything, I had a job, a car, I lost it all,” Jade said.
“It’s hard to explain to people what they will lose, and you always think it’s disgusting, but it literally took one second for me to get addicted and here I am now.”
She has been through four rehabilitations and three detox stints but said this experience saved her life.
“It’s beautiful here, which helps clear your mind and makes you feel like you are actually someone worthwhile and that you can change. If you make bad mistakes, it’s only a hiccup in your journey,” she said.
“The second weekend my mum came down and could already see how much I had changed. Being in a safe supportive environment with other young people has made my recovery possible.”
Nestled on the 110-acre Triple Care Farm, the $3 million facility accommodates up to 10 youths aged 16 to 24.
Patients undertake a substance withdrawal and detoxification program for 28 days and then go through 12 weeks of rehabilitation with other recoverees on the adjacent Triple Care farm.
They are provided with their own accommodation suites, group and individual counselling, and long-term treatment plans after their release.
They also participate in a structured daily routine, art classes and must do education and skills training to help them get a job.
Ice rife in regional areas
Jade’s addiction started in her home town in southern New South Wales and she says methamphetamine is ravaging small country towns.
“So many people are still struggling, you see people around and they look like they have cancer or some horrible disease,” she said.
“And they do terrible things – even the stuff that I used to do to get ice – it’s not human.”
She says the insidious drug is everywhere.
Patients undertake a drug detox program for 28 days and then have 12 weeks of rehab. (ABC News: Chloe Hart)
The centre says ice addicts can require specialised detox support as coming off drugs can be extremely challenging and dangerous.
“Detoxing is extremely difficult for patients. Each individual case is different, some might sleep for long periods of time, others might need medical attention, that’s why they are in this safe and supported care,” Triple Care Farm Manager Gabriella Holmes said.
Despite use of the drug increasing, there is a massive shortage of specific detox programs in Australi
But early intervention is much more successful for ice users.
Mission Australia says more funding and long-term planning is needed to sufficiently meet demand for treatment.
Last year the NSW Government announced $75 million over four years for drug and alcohol services including detox and treatment programs for young people and pregnant women.
Those services are yet to go out to tender.
Jade is due to graduate from the program next week, after being granted early release.
“I’m so excited to go home, I can’t wait to get a job, it’s been so long since I worked, it’s a bit scary but I am so ready.”
Jade is urging other struggling addicts to seek help.
“The first step is asking for help, support is out there. You just have to look in the right place,” she said.