More vacancies best way to treat drug problems, says facility manager
More vacancies best way to treat drug problems, says facility manager

Lambie's rehab proposal a 'waste of money': facility manager

A NORTH Coast addiction facility manager says forcing drug addicts into rehabilitation won't work.

Christian Gruft, program manager at The Buttery, said money needed to be spent getting those who wanted to change their habits into programs, not filling the limited vacancies with those who didn't.

It came as Senator Jacqui Lambie publicly revealed her son was addicted to ice, igniting a call to revive a failed bill to broaden forced drug rehabilitation laws in NSW.

Senator Lambie has urged the Federal Government to allow parents of drug addicts to send their offspring into treatment against their will.

READ MORE: Jacqui Lambie reveals son's ice addiction

Mr Gruft said The Buttery, which also runs outreach programs across the Northern Rivers, already

has a long waiting list of people trying to kick drug dependence.

"I'm not a big advocate for involuntary treatment," he said.

"We get a lot of parents ringing up and saying their son is destroying his life, asking us for help.

"Unfortunately, it doesn't work unless a person has some willingness to do something about it."

Mr Gruft said taxpayers' money would be better spent opening vacancies in existing programs for those who actually wanted to make a change.

"At the moment our waiting list is five or six months for males and three months for women," he said.

"Quite often people using ice or another drug have a small window of opportunity.

"They feel they want to do something to change, but there is nowhere to send them.

"By the time there is, six months later, they might be too far gone."

On the NSW stage, Christian Democrats leader Fred Nile has called for State Parliament to reconsider a bill he introduced in 2012.

"Is it a fact that, as stated by Senator Jacqui Lambie, ice is a drug which affects people, such as her son, like no other drug, leaving them unable to help themselves, and those who love them powerless to intervene?" he asked in parliament.

Current state laws permit an adult to be forced into drug or alcohol treatment for up to 28 days, with the option of an extension, if a doctor deems their addiction to be so serious their life is on the line.

Rev Nile's bill would lengthen the maximum first treatment period to 90 days and eliminate the option of a later extension.

It would also allow 16-year-olds to be forcibly admitted to treatment if their parents gave consent.

Under the proposed changes, addicts could opt to have a naltrexone implant surgically embedded under their skin to avoid a compulsory stay at a rehab clinic.

Naltrexone has traditionally been used to block the effects of alcohol and opioids such as heroin and morphine, but recent studies have pointed to it being effective against amphetamines as well.



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