As communities in the Riverland face significant challenges in the battle against illicit drugs, the Weatherill Government last week blocked legislation that would have allowed parents, police and child protection officers to apply to a court for mandatory treatment orders for a child addicted to illicit drugs.

The Controlled Substances (Youth Treatment Orders) Amendment Bill would have led to the establishment of a vital facility for the treatment of young people struggling with drug addiction.

“There is an ice epidemic sweeping through regional communities across South Australia and sadly many of its victims are children,” Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone said. 

“At a time when South Australian families need options to treat children’s drug addiction, the Weatherill Government has blocked legislation in South Australian Parliament on this important matter.

“Every regional community, including the Riverland, has been impacted by the scourge of illicit drugs, particularly the rise in the use of ‘Ice’ and we need to do everything possible to rid our communities of it.”

The recent National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program found: the highest methylamphetamine levels were seen at Western Australian and South Australian sites (capital city and regional) (p12). 

Deputy State Liberal Leader Vickie Chapman said South Australia desperately needs a secure therapeutic centre where children addicted to ice and other highly destructive illegal drugs can be sent for treatment, before they are lost to a life of misery and crime.

“The treatment needs to be mandatory because many young addicts refuse to believe they even have a problem, let alone that they are putting themselves in immense danger and are in need of medical treatment,” she said. 

“South Australian families are being torn apart trying to deal with the highly erratic and destructive behaviour of children addicted to ice.

“We cannot afford to sit back and watch children fall into a life of addiction because we are concerned their rights are being impinged by making the treatment mandatory.

“Families and the authorities have the right, indeed the obligation, to seek help for children who are incapable of helping themselves.”

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