Family ruined by drugs hits back at rehab backdown
A MOTHER who pleaded for a rehab facility to help her drug addicted son said felt alone in her battle for funding.
The West Mackay woman, who we have chosen not to name, sent a petition calling for Mackay Regional Council to pressure Mackay, Whitsunday and Mirani candidates to back a rehabilitation facility in the region.
She said it was a campaign born from years of family heartbreak, watching her son fail to get adequate help for his long-term drug addiction.
While counsellors, support groups and programs were available, she said Mackay needed a rehab facility to help people like her son break the cycle of addiction.
"We need beds and rooms and places where people can get clean," she said.
But instead of joining her campaign for more rehab beds, Mackay Regional Council instead called for "soft infrastructure" funding.
Councillors unanimously voted to send a letter to candidates asking for "community infrastructure" in the Wednesday council meeting.
"Council highlights to all state election candidates the importance of rehabilitation facilities to support domestic violence, suicide and mental health cases in our region," it said.
"Providing social services and facilities for the community often runs second to more main stream community infrastructure, but we believe such "social" infrastructure is a critical component of any inclusive community.
"We ask that you consider during your campaign how you can assist in supporting issues related to domestic violence, suicide and mental health in our community."
Despite Mayor Greg Williamson acknowledging a rise in drugs in Mackay, he said the council would not ask candidates for physical rehabilitative facilities.
"We don't have too many facilities that offer rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abuse," he said.
"Council can't afford to put all of these things up.
"Our soft infrastructure requirements, we believe, far outweigh the hard infrastructure (needs) of a single facility.
"The hard infrastructure is you build a building.
"The soft infrastructure is what goes into a building; the staffing for all of that, the programs that help people get off the street, the programs that get them rehabilitated and back to work.
"A building is a building - unless you have that soft infrastructure to actually make it work it's fairly useless."
But the West Mackay mother, who watched her son repeatedly relapse while waiting for his rehab bed, said it was not enough.
"It's not clear that they've done anything more," she said,
She said the problem was not a lack of counselling, but a lack of beds.
"Talking about it isn't going to solve it, he needs more than that," she said.
"He's saying 'I need help'.
"But the physical help is not there.
"There's nowhere to send them anywhere."
The mother said she would continue to push for the rehab centre.
"They need to feel invested and loved and part of society," she said.
"As long as they're being treated as delinquents they will act like that.
"Stealing cars, break-ins, youth crime is all going up, affecting everyone in Mackay.
"But no one wants the solution."
The mother said the council's funding priority made her nervous for any future rehabilitation development proposal.
She said she feared people complaining about a rehab centre opening in their neighbourhood would sabotage a future development.