State’s plan to send young crims to rehab

THE State Government will open a drug rehab centre for children in an extraordinary attempt to tackle Queensland's youth crime crisis.

It comes as The Courier-Mail can reveal a third of children in youth detention have used ice, with the drug leaving most of them "seriously impaired".

As community concern around teen criminals escalates, Health Minister Steven Miles has confirmed Queensland Health is investigating opening a new drug treatment facility as a way to solve youth detention overcrowding.

The State Government will expand drug treatment for young criminals.
The State Government will expand drug treatment for young criminals.

"Queensland Health is finalising a proposal to expand services for therapeutic residential care for young people aged 13 to 25 years experiencing issues with substance use," Mr Miles said.

"Queensland Health funding will support additional bed capacity and expanded service delivery in 2020, with a focus on young people involved in the youth justice system.

"The proposal is still being negotiated with full details to be released at a later date."

It's understood the proposal is expected to receive funding in this year's Budget.

The plan follows a directive from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last year to investigate drug treatment as a way of solving the government's kids in watch houses crisis.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Health Minister Steven Miles. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Health Minister Steven Miles. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling

At the time, she said underlying social issues, like drug use, sexual abuse, family violence and neglect were all contributing to the state's youth crime problems.

Youth Justice figures show nearly 60 per cent of children in detention or on community service, good behaviour bonds or suspended sentences use marijuana - more than the numbers who smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol.

Of those, 64 per cent were deemed to be "seriously impaired" by their marijuana use.

Nearly one in five used ice - rising to one third of those in detention - and 85 per cent of those children were "seriously impaired".

Nearly 10 per cent were chroming with solvents and that had "seriously impaired" three quarters of those children.

Last year, Queensland had 1673 children in detention or on community-based supervision on any given day.

That was higher than the previous year's number of 1519.

Queensland’s youth drug problem is an “emergency”, says Youth Affairs Network Queensland director Siyavash Doostkhah.
Queensland’s youth drug problem is an “emergency”, says Youth Affairs Network Queensland director Siyavash Doostkhah.

Youth Affairs Network Queensland director Siyavash Doostkhah said the government needed to put money into detox facilities as well as rehab in order to deal with youth crime as a social issue.

He said there was "very little help" available now to young people or parents seeking drug help.

"There's cries of help everywhere, the magnitude of the problem is unbelievable," he said.

"Young people are resorting to prescription drugs, street drugs, improvising with inhalants and all manner of things.

"It's an emergency, it really requires an emergency response in terms of looking at it in terms of a social response."



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