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Treatment options can keep kids safe

Treatment options can keep kids safe and families together

An article in the Courier Mail yesterday reported that methamphetamine use is now more common than problematic alcohol use in relation to child safety cases.  Figures from the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services suggest forty-four percent of families where children had been found in need of protection had parents taking some form of methamphetamine.

CEO of the QLD Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies, the peak body for the NGO treatment sector in QLD, Rebecca Lang states: 

“This highlights the need for effective treatment options for parents seeking support for problematic substance use.  It is critical that parents have access to residential treatment options that are family friendly as well as evidence based non-residential treatment options of varying intensity, yet they are sadly lacking in Queensland.”

She further stated:  “Treatment for problematic methamphetamine use is not that different to treatment of other types of alcohol or drug use, with the difference at times being that longer treatment is required, due to the potential for a protracted withdrawal syndrome.”

“Child Safety Officers have limited options for referral when they identify parents who are experiencing problematic substance use.  We need to do better in linking these parents with treatment appropriate to the severity of the issue.  It could be as simple as providing appropriate childcare options so that parents can seek non-residential treatment, or increasing the number of residential places where parents can take their children with them.”

“Supporting parents to seek help as soon as possible for problematic substance use so children can safely remain with their family is the best outcome for all involved, but first we need options for parents.  While drug testing might be helpful in identifying the problem, research has demonstrated its deterrent effect diminishes as drug use becomes more problematic.”

QNADA is the peak organisation representing the views of 41 NGO AOD organisations.  Through our knowledge of the sector, network of experienced members and links across complementary human service delivery sectors, QNADA is well-placed to provide practical advice and front-line service delivery experiences to inform policy and program advancement for the sector.

The sector consists of organisations involved in the continuum of care for individuals and their families affected by alcohol and drug use. QNADA members provide drug education and information, early intervention, outreach, withdrawal management, residential rehabilitation, psychosocial and medical treatment, relapse prevention, justice diversion and social inclusion.

If you or someone you know has identified that help is needed for problematic alcohol and other drug use, please contact the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 1800 177 833.  They provide a free 24 hour/7 day counselling, information and referral service for anyone with concerns about their own or someone else’s use of alcohol or other drugs. This is an anonymous and confidential service.

For more information, anecdotes or comment, please contact Rebecca Lang on 0408669590.

If you would like to connect with a local contact in your region in regards to this story, please contact our office and speak to Gillian on 30235050.