Nestled in the northeast corner of NSW on the border of Queensland, the beach town of Tweed Heads attracts the best and the worst from locally and interstate. As well as holiday makers seeking long stretches of sandy beaches, the alcohol and drug scene here is also booming in part due to its proximity to the Gold Coast. Being a small town, there are few facilities to combat these trends however.
Drug Use in Tweed Heads
The Monthly Magazine interviewed local MP Geoff Provest who said that Tweed Heads had the “third highest percentage of arrests” for both the sale and distribution of illicit drugs in NSW. The town acts as a “major manufacturing port” that provides drugs to users in Southwest Queensland. According to Tweed Daily News, local residents were 40% more likely to face drug charges here than anywhere else in NSW.
Despite the high consumption and distribution of illicit substances found in Tweed Heads, the town doesn’t have a dedicated drug squad. Local police have had to rely on a small number of officers to stop local operations and enforce the law. These efforts stepped up in 2014 when local motorcycle gangs were targeted. The Australian Federal Police allegedly seized material that was used in the production of drugs as well as small amounts of cannabis, MDMA, amphetamines and cocaine for personal use.
In spite of their efforts, organised gang activity is still quite strong throughout the region with locals taking their complaints to both the Tweed Shire Council and Gold Coast City Council. In fact, a recent BOSCAR report quoted on Geoff Provest’s official website said that there has been an “upward trend” of illicit substance possession, in particular amphetamines and cocaine, in the region.
Alcohol and the Tweed Heads
The Tweed Daily News quotes the local police force as saying that “excessive alcohol consumption contributes significantly to crime” within the region. In fact, it dwarfs problems created by illegal drugs within the community. Police have been especially stretched with the rise of illegal teenage parties in the area which Tweed Daily News says is caused by factors like boredom, lack of public transport, and the desire to look cool amongst the youth.
In the Monthly article mentioned earlier, Geoff Provest said that Tweed Heads had the “highest incidence of drink driving per capita” within Australia. Alcohol also contributes to violent incidents with the Northern Star reporting that over 45.7% of cases in the region could be attributed to excessive drinking. Within Tweed Heads, there was a 30.6% rise in these types of events from 2012 to 2014.
Drug and Alcohol Facilities in Tweed Heads
In spite of these trends, there are still no counselling services for alcohol and drug dependant people under the age of 18 years in the Tweed Heads area. To help fill this need, St Josephs Youth Service runs a street outreach program called CoolHeads that connects with young people in high-risk areas within Tweed Heads on Friday and Saturday nights.
For adults, Drug & Alcohol Services has one of its centres in Tweed Heads. These facilities offer counselling, intervention, treatment and support services including connections with the MERIT program for illicit drug offenders. Another option is the Tweed Valley Alcohol and Other Drug Service which provides counselling to the local community as well as support for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders. MERIT is included in this support programme too.
Support Options for Tweed Heads Residents
With drug and alcohol use so prevalent and treatment facilities lacking within the region, it is not unusual for addicts within Tweed Heads to seek help elsewhere. Checking into a clinic in Brisbane, Sydney or the Gold Coast can be expensive though especially since most health insurance won’t cover rehab.
A better option is to choose a facility in a country such as Thailand where the cost of living is much lower. Here, you can get international standards of care at a fraction of the price. Even with the cost of a plane ticket, the total spent will be far more affordable.
Centres such as Serenity Chiang Rai also offer high levels of privacy so your friends and family back in Tweed Heads don’t even need to know about your struggle. Just tell everyone you are taking a break in Thailand and hop on the plane. Flights from Gold Coast Airport take about 15 hours transferring through Sydney and then Bangkok. On arrival, we will pick you up and drive you to our rehab facilities where we will commence your personalised treatment programme.