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Set in one of Queensland’s most idyllic locations, the town of Mackay has a sinister side with regards to drugs and alcohol. With incidents such as illegal drug trafficking and drink driving, the town has some pretty serious cases stemming from the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Being a smaller town too, there aren’t many facilities tailored to the rehabilitation of those suffering from addiction either.
When it comes to drugs, Mackay has seen it all. Most of these incidents have been reported in the Daily Mercury. For instance, there was a 24 year old mother of two charged with the trafficking of methamphetamines and cannabis who accepted boxes of pseudoephedrine as payment. She was arrested twice for dealing illicit substances.
In a second incident, Mackay police intercepted a vehicle travelling through the city. A drug thought to be methamphetamines was found along with a range of drug-making paraphernalia. Two people were charged with possession and trafficking. In a third incident, police raided a Mackay sex shop where a bikie gang was selling synthetic cannabis and distributing MDMA in the Mackay area.
Another incident involved a driver on methamphetamines who drove the wrong way down on Malcomson St. in Mackay and collided with a scooter. The rider was seriously injured and the driver was sentenced to six months in jail.
Fortunately, local police are determined to step up their game. The>Mackay Road Policing Unit told the Daily Mercury they had detected 78 drug-related offences from January until August 2015, an increase from 2014. The police said they would focus on drug driving by ramping up their roadside testing.
There have been some major incidents caused by the excessive use of alcohol in Mackay. One case in the Daily Mercury involved a woman crossing into the wrong lane of the nearby Bruce Highway and crashing into a local motorcyclist. She was more than 3.5 times over the legal alcohol limit and was found with a half-filled schooner of wine in the vehicle’s cup holder.
A more serious case involved a ute colliding with a car on Yakapari-Seaforth Road. The Daily Mercury reported that the driver of the ute was found with a BAC reading of 0.03%. He was driving on the wrong side of the road when the ute struck the side of the car. The passenger of the car passed away while the driver was on the phone to 000.
Of course, these incidents have caused concern amongst the local population. The ABC News wrote about the One Punch One Kill Campaign which complained that the Mackay council was going to extend pub opening hours. On a more positive note, the Queensland government launched a crackdown on alcohol-fuelled violence with its Safe Night Precinct concept. With a decrease in the number of attacks, the campaign was hoped to further improve safety around the town.
There are only two government-funded rehabilitation alternatives for those in Mackay suffering from addiction. The first is the Drug & Alcohol Residential Recovery Service run by Ozcare. This is a program that addresses issues related to addiction. It is open to those who have stopped taking drugs and alcohol. Individual counselling, group activities and practical living advice are offered.
The second option is the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Service. This offers prevention, intervention and treatment to those suffering from addiction in Mackay. Services include drug withdrawal management, an opioid substitution program, a needle and syringe program and prevention & health promotion. There are also drug diversion programs offered through local courts and police.
With these limited options, locals may need to seek help elsewhere. Rather than visiting Brisbane where treatment can be expensive there are also centres around South East Asia that can help. Something to take note of is many Australian’s can use their superannuation to cover the costs of treatment.
There is also the issue of confidentiality which is important in small towns like Mackay where news travels fast. By booking into an overseas clinic, you can get treated for your addiction without fear of social stigma.