Kids as young as 12 getting hooked on drugs in Qld
PRE-TEENS are getting hooked on ice, cannabis and booze across Queensland.
Drug and alcohol workers are seeing children as young as 12 from Caboolture, the Sunshine Coast, Gympie, Ipswich, Esk, Gatton, Laidley, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
The shocking trend came to light on Friday as the Ted Noffs Foundation Queensland Drug and Alcohol Service revealed statistics from its first six months of operating from select Queensland Health offices.
The foundation started offering case management and counselling for 12-25 year old Queenslanders late last year.
The average age of its clients is 18 years and eight months.
About 78% of its service users are male and 23.8% are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
Just over 38% of all clients use cannabis, 33% use amphetamines and 16.3% use alcohol.
The organisation says just over a third of clients have attempted suicide and many others have depression, anxiety and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
A lot of people using the service are victims of domestic violence, physical, sexual or verbal abuse, bullying or serious accidents.
"The age of (drug use) onset in a lot of areas is very young," Noffs Foundation chief operating officer Mark Ferry said.
"Kids are being exposed to cannabis and alcohol at really early ages and that can lead to using drugs like ice."
Mr Ferry said the service was particularly concerned by the number of clients who had tried to take their own lives.
"It goes to show that our client group is experiencing a lot of trauma," he said.
Mr Ferry said the foundation had the capacity to extend the program into other areas including Warwick, Toowoomba, Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton and Mackay.
However, this would not happen in the foreseeable future.
A spokeswoman for Health Minister Cameron Dick said all addicts and users could get help regardless of where they lived.
"Support is provided to substance abusers, their families, relatives, carers and close friends by hospital and health services across Queensland," she said.
If you or someone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 131 114; the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
AT A GLANCE
Statistics collected by the Ted Noffs Foundation since opening its Queensland Drug and Alcohol Service late last year:
- Clients are 12-25 years old.
- 78% of clients are male.
- 23.8% of clients are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
- 38% of all clients use cannabis
- 33% of all clients use amphetamines
- 16.3% of all clients use alcohol.
- 33.6% clients have attempted suicide.