'Evil drug': Ex-addict spent $800 chasing drug

A FORMER Gladstone ice addict who spent $800 a week chasing the drug when he was at his worst, has plans to create the first live-in drug rehabilitation centre in Gladstone.

The man, who asked not to be named because he was a member of Narcotics Anonymous, said the lack of a drug rehabilitation centre in town meant strung out users had to travel to Rockhampton, Mackay or Hervey Bay to kick the habit.

He said Narcotics Anonymous had experienced a "steady increase" in the number of struggling drug users attending its session despite there being some drug services in Gladstone.

"We've been running for 19 weeks and in the beginning it was just me and another bloke, and then the next week it was a few more and now we've got about 20 people," the man said.

"We've had a steady increase and I'm even thinking we're going to have to create a second meeting to take in all the people."

The State Government announced last week it would hold a summit in Rockhampton in April to come up with a "multi-pronged" strategy to tackle the "evil" drug.

EVIL DRUG: An ex-addict has an ambitious new plan to help others recovering from addiction.
EVIL DRUG: An ex-addict has an ambitious new plan to help others recovering from addiction. John Gass

Although the former Gladstone ice addict was hopeful something concrete would come out of the summit, he believed his plan for a drug rehabilitation centre could help solve Gladstone's problem with the drug.

"In terms of politicians talking about fixing the problem, that's where you can start to get the ball rolling," he said.

"But until they say we're going to throw a tonne of money at the issue, not much will change.

"I've got a blueprint in my mind of where I want (my rehabilitation centre) to go, but it could be between three to six months before I'm able to present it."

Having spent 12 months at a drug rehabilitation centre at the Sunshine Coast, the man said his plans would give addicts the opportunity to stay at the centre for at least four months, with an option for a six month stay.

"After care is important and at the facility I went to, I had available to me a second house where residents who finished the program could live, pay rent and function in society," he said.

"I'm even thinking about (a jobs program) if they're worthy.

"The program is about complete abstinence so all drug (addicts would be catered for) and it would be open to people from all over."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government was committed to holding a number of summits across the state this year as part of the release of its "draft ice strategy".

"I will be working with Members of Parliament, including Glenn Butcher, to ensure the people of the Gladstone region have a say in our strategy," the Premier said. The premier's office has not finalised where it will hold the other summits.



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