Former Palmer Unity Party senator Jacqui Lambie has called for a more benevolent approach to dealing with people with drug addictions, telling the Senate that her 21-year-old son has an ice addiction.
The government is looking at stripping welfare support from people who are being held in psychiatric confinement and accused of a serious crime. Lambie opposes the plan, warning that ice addicts will increasingly be detained for crimes under the influence of the drug.
She wants national legislation to allow parents to commit drug-addicted children into rehabilitation.
“I have a 21-year-old son that has a problem with ice, and yet even with my title I have no control over my son,” she said during debate on the legislation.
“I can’t involuntarily detox my own son, because I am not talking to my son anymore, I’m talking to a drug.”
Lambie said it was a “hard road” to oppose the government’s plan, but there were thousands like her out there.
“It is very easy to take a populist position and vote for legislation that takes a hard line against people who are alleged to have committed terrible crimes and have serious mental illnesses,” she said.
The Tasmanian senator painted a dark outlook for those with an ice addiction.
“They will end up on a slab, they will end up in these mental institutions, they will end up killing somebody else because of their actions,” she said.
The Australia Drug Foundation estimates that when it comes to meth/amphetamine, including ice, 7% of Australians aged 14 years and over have used it at least once and 2.1% have used it in the previous 12 months.
Northern Territory police minister Peter Chandler is facing the same challenge, telling 3AW that his 21-year-old son Brandon is an ice addict who sold his own mother’s wedding ring to pay for drugs.
“To see my son, his girlfriend and their three-year-old daughter standing on my driveway because I’d literally kicked them out was probably one of the hardest things I’d done as a father,” Chandler said.
His son’s addiction came to light over the weekend after the minister’s car was pulled over by police and they found meth in it. Brandon Chandler had given his father’s car to a friend to use while he looked after her children.
The Abbott government has established a National Ice Taskforce in a bid to tackle the what’s seen as a growing “ice epidemic”.
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