City amphetamine use highest in CQ: expert

By CHRIS LYNCHchrisl@gladstoneobserver.com.au

GLADSTONE has long been known as a workers' town, but now one medical expert says it is one of the major contributing factors making the area one of the worst in Central Queensland for drug-related problems.

Clinical director of Rockhampton District Mental Health Services doctor Peter Rofe administers Gladstone also, and he says many locals are dicing with mental illness and playing roulette with the well-being of fellow workers.

"Gladstone is an area where, in my perception, there is more of a drug problem than other areas of the Rockhampton Health District,'' Dr Rofe said.

"There are unique aspects that make it more vulnerable to certain issues. There are a lot of younger people with access to recreational drugs and relatively good employment there with good money.

"My perception is that there are more amphetamines being peddled there than in other areas.''

It is now well known drugs such as marijuana and amphetamines are responsible for causing drug-related psychosis, Dr Rofe saying this was becoming a growing concern at many Gladstone work sites.

He said urine tests in industry were a step in the right direction, however added that many employers had their hands tied because of civil liberty issues.

"There are practices people use to fool the system, like tampering with urine analysis,'' he said.

"One person described putting someone else's urine in a tightly fitting vitamin capsule.

''They then kept it in their underpants and simply poured it in the jar when asked to supply a sample.

"Companies can't strip search people because of civil liberty issues and there have also been problems with the consistency of saliva tests.



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