Mum shares story of how ice turned her world upside down
Jacqui Kempton shares the pain of watching a child dealing with drug addiction then go missing.
AS parents we try to do the best for our children, no matter what age they are, if they are living with you, or have moved out of home and making their own way in the world.
We all wish for their happiness and wellbeing. Sometimes for some of us it goes wrong.
For us it went wrong, and still is going wrong. Our son Kurt has been missing now for 11 months.
He left one day without any clothes, money, and a car that had tires that needed pumping up every day.
Since he left us, his bank account has not been touched, none of his friends (that we know of) have seen or heard from him.
Kurt had a good life, good job, good friends. Then he had ice, his whole world changed, and so did ours.
He called us worried, broke and with nowhere else to go, and as parents we stepped in and did what we could, and thought it was the right thing to do at the time, to help get his life back on track.
Kurt had not lived at home for several years. We had no idea what the effects of the drug ice was doing to him, even though we were living through it with him.
We watched a man become distant, moody, violent, lying, a person who although our child, was in fact a man that we no longer recognized. Where had our son gone, would we get him back?
You hear all the advertising on TV, papers, websites of where to get help.
As I am a person who believes in the system set in place, to get help, we started to try and convince Kurt to go to these places and seek help.
We tried our local GPs, local hospital, our mental health, and drug and alcohol centres.
Let's just say that these were of no practical help to us. The hospital sent him home with tablets, after ringing Rockhampton, who really did not know what was going on, what were we expecting, admission and assessment by mental health the next day.
Finally the next day I had convinced Kurt that Mental Health was there to assist him where we could not.
We attended Mental Health and Kurt was asked to fill out a questionnaire about himself.
I told him you don't have to but it will give them an idea of where you are at. So he completed the questions and I was heartbroken by some of his answers.
I took the completed form back to the receptionist, we sat down and waited.
A man came out and called Kurt's name. I noticed that the questionnaire was still sitting where I had placed it.
The man asked Kurt what was happening with him.
Kurt proceeded to tell him what drugs he had been consuming, further questions were asked, a few minutes later Kurt was told that it was not a mental health problem but a drug problem.
Me stunned, Kurt a blank expression.
So let's get a drug and alcohol adviser in. Kurt told her what drugs and alcohol he was taking, she then proceeded to tell him that if he had come a bit sooner, we could have helped you.
Kurt looked at me. How do I feel after we told him that there were the places that can help you mate, this is where we start to get help.
He got up and walked out. I said to the lady, "Do you know how hard it was to get him here?"
She then said I have got these pages to give to you for rehab centers, you just ring them.
Hello, done all that. What exactly do they do at that centre?
When Kurt and I left and went down to his father, the phone rings and it's the guy from Mental Health, rushing to tell Warren that Kurt's problem is not a mental health one but a drug problem.
Warren replies with, how about this, it is a mental health problem caused by the drugs.
And this was not the first phone call. After Warren and I discussed these phone calls, the only conclusion I can come to is that after Kurt walked out, he actually sat down and read the questionnaire that Kurt had filled out, and maybe realized that he had made a mistake.
Our mental health, drug and alcohol hospitals need to be more informed and there needs to be immediate help, before it's too late, like it was for us.
Our daughter rang and emailed us an extensive list of rehab centers, as we were talking with Kurt about that also.
There is only a small window of opportunity when a user is so low and actually asks for help.
Again, this was not practical for us… to enter a rehab center, the user must be detoxed for two weeks before admission, then there is usually a six to eight week waiting period for admission.
If detoxing was easy, and I know it isn't, we would have done it.
For some there are the great stories of how they can get off the drug, and to those I have great admiration and wish them nothing but happiness and good fortune with their lives and hope they never use again.
But people are not all the same and you have those that need the constant help and immediate help to at least start.
Don't judge and say that if they want to get off it they will. For some the effort and ability to do it is just too hard on top of everything else.
We are all for helping yourself and doing it to yourself with support from family and friends, but for some they do need a helping hand and constant support.
Kurt had a good life, good job, good friends. Then he had ice, his whole world changed, and so did ours
It would be no different when your child is attending school. Some kids need more "help" than others, some are more focused than others, and some just struggle.
We have listened to how our child was trying to overdose to end it.
Again people will say if he really wanted to do it he would have. Does not mean that hearing the words make it any easier, listening to why should they not kill themselves, how they nothing, what good is living for.
Watching him try to get through every day, creating fights with us as a valid excuse to leave… waiting for him to come home, to call us.
The threats of violence extending from money being owed on the drugs, then next telling ourselves that it's no more helping him, are we just enabling him to keep doing what he is doing?
Yes, we were on both sides of the fence and getting tired from jumping backwards and forwards, thinking like a lot of families that we could handle even that.
Every day for us tears, what ifs, should we have done something different, what else can we do, round and round in circles we went, until some action pushes the limit, not even knowing what it is, then you don't see him, he doesn't call, you can't call him, no one else sees him.
Eleven months on and still no one sees him or his car, still no one can call him, the tears are fewer, the what ifs, should we, could we, are all still there.
All we can say to any family going through what we have and if threats are being made, go immediately to the police, you cannot do this on your own.
Families that go through this, and there are a lot of us out there, some as I said have success stories some do not.
For those of us who do not, want something to be done about it, facilities to cater for drug addicts, more help for families to go to the right places to seek PRACTICAL help, not platitudes over the phone, real help.
The Gladstone CIB have been and continue to be working on finding Kurt.
We cannot thank you enough for the job that you are doing. Unfortunately their job is no easy task in fighting the fight against these drugs.
Our story has a beginning, a middle, but there will be no end until we find Kurt
We have seen how they catch them and then they are let go. The laws need to be changed, not to just throw them in jail, but to get the help that they need also, not just the course they do in jail to get a lesser sentence.
Actual help to get them back into mainstream society. These people started out as good people, they are all someone's child at any age.
We would also like to sincerely thank the SES volunteers, police and Greg Klease for organising a search of the Kroombit Tops area, your time was greatly appreciated.
This is a very condensed version of our story.
It has a beginning, a middle, but there will be no end until we find Kurt.
If anyone has even the slightest bit of information, please contact the police or Warren or myself. If you wish to remain anonymous that will be respected.
Kurt is just one of 35,000 Australians that go missing every year due to whatever circumstances.
We just want him home. Yes, he will be answerable to the authorities, we have no argument for that, we just want him found.
Australian Missing Persons Register, a Facebook page, is a site that is manned by one lady who does a fantastic job of helping families of missing persons.
Please go and like her page and help by sharing the posts.