Yesterday I published an article about the Ice Epidemic in Australia. If you missed it you can read it here. Australia’s Ice Epidemic: https://sundayeveryday.me/2016/07/26/tuesday-talks-australias-ice-epidemic/
Stories of drug addiction are punctuated with trauma, pain, loss and intense grief. Families are broken and parents are often the ones left picking up the pieces.
Joining me today is my nephews partner Shae, they live with their two small children at Philip Island with my sister and her husband. Philip Island police report an alarming increase in drug arrests on the Island and point to a rise in the use of ice.
“Police say that the social impact of ice is being seen in domestic violence, with children of users being sent to foster care as well as an increase in mental health problems. Earlier this year Wonthaggi hospital emergency department was evacuates when an ice addict caused $20’000 worth of damage and abused staff. One officer told the Advertiser that it was not uncommon for local police to be bitten, and punched when dealing with aggressive ice addicts” (Philip Island Advertiser. July 13 2016).
Ice Addiction a Survivors Story by Lisa Hunt-Wotton
Shae is a reformed ice addict and is desperately concerned about the lack of support services for those trying to get off drugs. Shae was on ice for two years and has been clean now for 9 months. She knows children as young as 13 on the island using drugs.
“It’s not just the youth, its professionals too. It’s more than people can imagine and it’s very hidden,” said Shae who moved to Cowes recently from Frankston but has been associated with the Island for most of her life.
“The only reason that I’m telling my story is because no one is doing anything about it and it’s a big problem. Community based support is what is needed to help these kids. They need a safe outlet to let them talk about their depression, anger or family breakdown. Non judgmental community groups where they can get help to get off the drugs. I’ve considered starting my own campaign talking to Year 7 – 12’s to tell my story in depth about what ice does to addicts. I know first-hand how it can ruin your life”.
The mother of two, who also has three step children, said that ice nearly totally destroyed her life. Shae’s brother was murdered by his ice addicted partner in 2014 in Seaford, a crime that gained state-wide attention and only concluded in the courts this year.
Shae herself stopped using ice only when she hit rock bottom, knowing that her children were about to be taken away from her by the Department of Human Services.
“For me it was a bit of fun at the start. I got involved through my brother who was dealing.”
Ice is a stimulant drug and when a person takes it, they can stay awake for days on end. It is also an appetite suppressant and the user will not eat for long periods of time.
She said in the midst of the addiction she wouldn’t eat sleep or drink and that the lack of sleep screwed with you even more. It was costing me $300.00 a day for half a gram. Once you get into debt then things turn very nasty. If you owe a dealer money, they’ll just come and take your car, TV, anything that they can get their hands on. I thought that it would be easy to get off but its not.
My sister Kerry talks about how incredibly stressful and overwhelming it is to watch your children’s lives go down the drain and be practically helpless to do anything. They lose their jobs, cars, relationships, houses and can’t pay rent. They are often hiding from dealers and debt. The stress and trauma escalates and it puts enormous emotional and financial pressure on the extended family.
If you ring the police to get help, they tell you that you need an ambulance. That takes you to the hospital and nine times our of ten the addict is released. As a parent you are left with nowhere else to go, except rehabilitation.
Public rehabilitation has an eight to twelve month waiting list and private rehabilitation cost up to $40’000 just to get in the door. You have to move quickly when the addict is at the point of wanting help and that’s where everything normally falls apart. They can’t wait eight months for help. You need someone to talk to straight away otherwise they just go back.
Shae and my nephew are now both clean and living with my sister. It is a daily struggle but they are working hard to stay clean and deal with the issues that face an addict on the road to recovery. They deserve our support. As I said to Shae, being able to tell your story and to speak about it shows remarkable courage and conviction of heart. They have the most beautiful children who need their parents well and whole. I am very proud of my sister who has gone to hell and back and who is still able to offer forgiveness, love and support to this small family as they work hard to get well.
This is an issue that effects us all. Please don’t get locked into the shame cycle. If you need help the first step it to talk to someone, reach out for help.
What to do if you need help?
There needs to be a plan. Don’t do this by yourself! You need support.
There is help out there!!!
If you are in danger?
Leave the situation. Call the authorities. Be informed about what options you have in support for you and your loved one. Is this selfish? No! It is giving an opportunity for you to be at your best when your loved one needs you.
Also remember that a drug affected person does not have the same reasoning capacity as you. There are many public and private drug and alcohol support services in Victoria. These include detox units, rehab centres and counselling services.
Many of these are government funded. I suggest calling
- Directline 1800 888 236 which is a confidential alcohol & drug counselling and referral service in Victoria for people of all ages and backgrounds.They will be able to direct you to support in your area. (this includes carer support too) Very Important!
- See your G.P. for a referral to private hospital services if you have private health cover.
- Family Drug Support 1300 368 186
- Lifeline 13 11 14 If you are feeling suicidal.
If you are a Carer of a loved one who has an addiction or if you suffer from addiction yourself, please don’t think you have to do this journey alone.
Call someone. There is hope!
Resources and Recommended Reading:
Brilliant 3 min DVD on “What is Drug Addiction by Dr Gabor Mate. Dr. Gabor Maté talks about the root causes of addiction and how to deal with them.http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/what-is-addiction-gabor-mate/
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