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Thread: NEWS: Courier-Mail - The Drugs Scrouge

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    #51
    Maybe they got the reports useing freedom of infomation.
     

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    #52
    Director of Research Tronica's Avatar
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    It's certainly quite a spread!!

    I'm surprised at how much of it is lifted from other places though.

    I do feel for the mum who lost her daughter. I just wish the response to this sad situation is to educate, educate, educate - rather than think we have a chance of 'stamping out drug use'.
     

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    #53
    I overheard some people at work talking about the 'crushed glass and rat poison' shit at work today. I *really* had to school myself not to refute this, as I don't want people at work knowing my use

    But god it makes me angry that publications like this are un-informing people, rather than informing them
     

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    #54
    Bluelight Crew hoptis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tronica View Post
    It's certainly quite a spread!!

    I'm surprised at how much of it is lifted from other places though.
    It's pretty full on, and most of the material seems original (even if it's the same broken record) the only copy that looks reproduced is Monday's advice from government information on how to talk to your kids about drugs.
     

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    #55
    Bluelighter Crankinit's Avatar
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    And of course nothing about harm reduction, no suggestions about how to actually improve things. Just more blowing things out of proportion and demonizing users and profitting off moral panic. Good old Aussie media at it again.
     

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    #56
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    Pushers turn to mail system to traffick their drugs
    Article from: The Courier-Mail
    Michael Crutcher and Matthew Fynes-Clinton
    March 31, 2009 11:00pm

    DRUG exporters are turning to the postal system in a bid to get illicit drugs into Australia.

    And border authorities admit they face a challenge to detect the substances amid the estimated 160 million pieces of mail to be sent into the nation this year.

    The Courier-Mail has learnt that drug dealers are sending small parcels through the post, fully expecting to lose some to border authorities but expecting they will get enough through to make a profit.

    Ecstasy traffickers were keeping parcels to between 300 grams and 500 grams and were increasingly sending through MDMA powder because it was more difficult to detect than pills.

    Australian Customs national intelligence manager Andrew Rice said MDMA or ecstasy detections in the post were rising, with more than two every week in the past financial year.

    "The detections in the post are going up in their sheer number, not necessarily in weight," Mr Rice said.

    "There is no pretence from us that we do miss things just because of the volumes.

    "Even in that environment of mass input, we do quite well in terms of significant proportion of drugs being sent through the postal system. But we do see criminals moving between different importation methods and the significant shipments are still likely to be attempted by sea cargo."

    Australia is obliged under a United Nations charter to accept mail from across the world. This year, Customs expects 120 million letters and 40 million parcels to be sent from overseas to the checking points in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

    Mail is screened by Customs or the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, through the likes of sniffer dog patrols and X-rays, before being handed to Australia Post for distribution.

    "We think about every item of mail. Some items are given different treatment based on the different risks that we assess," Mr Rice said.

    The figures for ecstasy busts in the last three years have been distorted by the monster find of 4.4 tonnes or 15 million pills in a shipping container in Melbourne in June 2007. The container, sent from Italy, was stacked with tinned tomatoes but Customs authorities were suspicious when X-rays revealed inconsistencies in the tins' contents. Customs alerted the Australian Federal Police, which decided to seek more information by following the drugs. They opened each tin and replaced the ecstasy with harmless tablets and then followed the trail. An investigation lasting more than a year, involving 400 AFP agents and 20,000 hours of surveillance, resulted in 20 arrests.

    In the last financial year, Customs detected 172kg of MDMA/ecstasy and a further 260kg of amphetamine-type stimulants among mail and cargo.

    This compares with 611kg of cocaine, 72kg of heroin and 49kg of cannabis.

    Customs also made large detections of precursor chemicals to methamphetamines, including 105kg of pseudoephedrine in air cargo 18 months ago.

    Mr Rice said the criminal networks that controlled much of the world's illicit drug trade had "access to specialist knowledge around the import and export fields". "The game is all about concealment," he said.

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    #57
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    Paramedic warns dealers, users to think of the risk
    Article from: The Courier-Mail
    Trent Dalton
    March 31, 2009 11:00pm


    ON call ... paramedic Ian Tucker says party drugs are rife on the Gold Coast. Picture: Jodie Richter

    TO Queensland's backyard drug manufacturers, Gold Coast intensive care paramedic Ian Tucker offers one plea: "Think of the consequences."

    Think of the 16-year-old girl lying dead at a party. Think of her mother when she hears the bad news. Think of the 11,429 drug-related incidents Queensland paramedics attended in 2007-08.

    An ambulance officer for 14 years, Tucker started in Sydney, in Cabramatta and Liverpool, where he attended an overdose "every single day, every single shift".

    Moving to the Gold Coast seven years ago, and now stationed at Southport, Tucker saw a change in the drug culture.

    "You don't see as much heroin up here," he says.

    "This is the party capital of Australia so there's a lot of party drugs: ecstasy, fantasy, amphetamines."

    "With the heroin overdoses we could reverse the effects with a drug, Narcan. You'd wake the patient up and they would probably go off of their own accord and not need transportation to hospital," he says.

    "Here on the Coast, the aim has to be to get these guys to the hospital. We might not know what's wrong with them. We've got to play it safe."

    But callouts can be dangerous.

    "We do a lot of stand-offs where we stand off until police arrive. But like us, they're pretty strapped for manpower so it might take a little while to get there," he says.

    Tucker's primary concern when he gets to patients is protecting the airway. He tracks vital signs and assesses the surroundings. He then gathers information from available bystanders.

    Often the drug user is saved. Sometimes they're not. It's frustrating, Tucker says, but the ambulance officer must move on.

    "It's the brick wall," Tucker says. "I put up a brick wall. I do my bit and I move on.

    "And I don't think about it. That's my coping mechanism."

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    #58
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    Rogue chemist employs the internet to spread the word
    Article from: The Courier-Mail
    Matthew Fynes-Clinton
    March 31, 2009 11:00pm

    A CLICK of the mouse and 206 pages of Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture, 7th edition, by "Uncle Fester", drops on the hard-drive.

    A seconds-long process, and there is my manual for mind games; my 26 chapters to enlightenment (apparently).

    How's this for an (edited) opening homily?

    Beyond any doubt, this is the best book ever written on the subject of clandestine chemistry, by anyone, anywhere, anytime, period ...

    What this work reveals is the utter futility of the so-called "War on Drugs".

    Any laws against victimless crimes can be easily evaded - "criminals" are just plain smarter than the Drug Clowns.

    Even the most cursory reading of this text shows that most of my references are from common standard chemical literature - that's right, folks, "drugs" are merely chemicals, and knowledge of how they are produced can never be removed from the body of civilised knowledge.

    So grow up, "Drug Warriors", and get a life!


    A hollowed-out Bible, a copy of Secrets in the cavity, was discovered by US police in a major methamphetamine bust in Indiana a few years ago that also yielded guns, ammunition and cash.

    When police in Philadelphia seized $1.8 million worth of methamphetamine in a more recent operation, investigators tripped over Fester's drug book.

    "Oh yes, the Fester book and others ... we see them coming through many times," says senior chemist Peter Culshaw, who heads the Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services team that examines police evidence from clandestine laboratory raids.

    "In Queensland, we have laws that make it illegal to possess instructions to make a dangerous drug. But people just buy books from Amazon.com and Customs don't pick it up.

    "Also we see print-outs from the internet. People are going to various drug sites and printing up mass pages (of methamphetamine production instructions)."

    Uncle Fester's real name is Steve Preisler, an industrial chemist aged in his late 40s with degrees in chemistry and biology from Marquette University, Milwaukee.

    In 1985, the divorced father-of-two wrote Secrets (for underground publisher Loompanics Unlimited) during a spell in prison for making methamphetamine. This year, the ninth edition rolled off the press.

    Dr Culshaw says the book - which includes formulas for other drugs in the amphetamine class such as MDMA (ecstasy) and the psychedelic MDA - is "aimed at the fairly dumb end of the market".

    But that's precisely why it's is so dangerous.

    "Methamphetamine," he says, "is just a case of adding three chemicals, heat and wait - and you've made the drug. Simple as that.

    "It's a bit like making a cake. When you make a cake, there's complex chemistry going on when it goes into the oven.

    "But you don't need to know that chemistry. You just follow a recipe."

    In Australia, the most widely-practised "hypo" technique involves the reaction of pseudoephedrine with the reducing agent hypophosphorous acid, and iodine.

    The latter two ingredients are on the controlled substances list and pharmacies have recently introduced tighter regulations on the sale of pseudoephedrine-rich cold and flu tablets to help stem their flow into illicit use.

    But fears are held that while the measures may have eliminated some cottage-industry producers, organised crime - with its powerful network of international contacts - will step into the breach, importing precursor chemicals en masse and establishing super-labs, capable of producing 200,000 to 300,000 doses of methamphetamine in a single "cook."

    Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission Director Of Intelligence Christopher Keen says outlaw bikers are one group to watch.

    There is evidence of increasing "sophistication" in their illicit drug dealings.

    "(They are) getting overseas bank accounts, and moving offshore to source the stuff they need," he says.

    Mr Keen says criminal bikie gangs have also grabbed a larger slice of the ecstasy market over the past two years.

    Ecstasy, traditionally imported into Australia in ready-made tablets or synthesised powdered form (and pressed into pills here) appears to be growing a domestic manufacturing base.

    The Australian Crime Commission reports that MDMA clandestine laboratory detections increased by 171 per cent (from 7 to 19) in 2006-07.

    Courier-Mail

     

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    #59
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    Dealer sells only to his very wide circle of friends
    Article from: The Courier-Mail
    Josh Robertson
    March 31, 2009 11:00pm

    SEVERAL hundred ecstasy pills a month pass through Geoff's hands, but he baulks at the tag dealer - he says he's just helping out a few good mates.

    "(I'm) more like someone who can just hook you up if you need it," he says.

    "A dealer's someone that trafficks large amounts and does it purposely and usually has contact with the people that make it and has knowledge about how it is distributed and usually distributes interstate."

    Geoff (not his real name) says the appetite for "party drugs" within his circle originally had him making frequent visits to a minor dealer on behalf of friends.

    This eventually wore thin and he decided to cut out the middleman.

    Geoff now finds himself ferrying pills through festival gates, past nightclub bouncers and to inner-city Brisbane parties to accommodate a wide circle of acquaintances.

    He says he sells only to people with whom he has a personal connection.

    "And I don't deliberately go and push it. There's plenty of other people that do that," he says.

    Just last month, Geoff says, a national-level sportsman - a household name - approached him via a mutual friend to buy ecstasy.

    He refused. "I just wouldn't do it, man, unless I knew him," Geoff says.

    The indiscreet behaviour of many of the people he already knows is exasperating enough, he says.

    One rung above people such as Geoff are suppliers who can unload hundreds of pills at a time, usually on credit to minor dealers they trust.

    A hundred pills might cost as little as $12 each, then be sold individually for between $25 and $30.

    Prices have fallen steadily since the mid-1990s, when a pill cost as much as $80. Something once considered wasteful and unaffordable is now seen as fast-acting and sociable; a party ritual to be shared alongside barbecued meat and cold beer in the refrigerator.

    Ask Geoff about quality control and the issue of a dangerous, even fatal, cocktail of ingredients doesn't enter into it.

    Quality control is instead a matter of the appropriate intensity of the pleasure induced.

    And the quality fairly regularly doesn't match expectations, despite assurances from his suppliers they screen batches for traces of unwanted amphetamines or PMA.

    "It's annoying because generally everyone will tell you that it's good but it's not always good," he says.

    "So you have to make sure for yourself that it's decent quality, or else I'll just give them back. I think they're just generally getting weaker."

    Geoff is reluctant to talk much about his current suppliers, aside from saying they're polite and courteous business owners.

    The Courier-Mail has learnt there is a Brisbane nightclub owner operating at about this level, purchasing thousands of pills at a time.

    The club owner keeps a shotgun as a precaution.

    Courier-Mail

     

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    Suburban methamphetamine chefs brew noxious mix
    Article from: The Courier-Mail
    Matthew Fynes-Clinton
    March 31, 2009 11:00pm

    IN the home of the suburban methamphetamine cook, stovetops steam with explosive brews and kitchen sinks are receptacles for dirty spoons, pipes, needles and coils of plastic tubing.

    Bathrooms store bulbous glassware and vats of caustic chemicals and reagents.

    And too often, say police and health authorities, children are in harm's way.

    "I have personally been into lab environments in Brisbane where the gear is set up, people are producing drugs, and the children's toys are around on the floor," says Peter Culshaw, senior chemist and head of clandestine laboratory investigation with Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services.

    "Soft toys ... teddy bears are contaminated; things like that absolutely absorb drug chemicals and children tend to put everything in their mouth.

    "But worse than that, when methamphetamine is produced, there are some highly poisonous gases. One of those is phosphene - it's been used as a chemical warfare agent."

    Dr Culshaw says that as Queensland police become more familiar with the toxic threat posed to children of drug cooks, offenders are being dealt a sterner hand.

    "Now, they're often charging people with possession of the drug and lab and also with child endangerment."

    Despite recent crackdowns on the purchase of cold and flu tablets containing pseudoephedrine - the key precursor chemical in the manufacture of "speed" and "ice" - so-called clan labs continue to turn over millions of dollars.

    And with most lab busts occurring in Queensland, the state wallows in a decade-long reputation as the nation's speed capital.

    In 2006-07, Queensland police detected 132 clan labs, 29 less than the previous year. The number was still almost double the No.2 state, Victoria, where 72 laboratories were uncovered.

    Queensland police point to two possible mitigating factors, the first being that their intelligence-gathering may simply be superior.

    But as well, distinct from interstate, many labs encountered are the smaller-output "boxed" variety - suitcase-sized kits with heating mantles, reaction vessels, precursors and instructions.

    The labs sell for $10,000 to $20,000, may be ferried in car boots and reduce cooking time from several days to hours.

    Hotel rooms, sometimes five-star, are regularly utilised, police say.

    Dr Culshaw says: "A cook can come in overnight and leave the following day - it's easier for them to avoid detection.

    "One of the big problems with that, and people using rental properties, is that once you've cooked there, you've contaminated that room with toxic chemicals, many of them cancer-causing.

    "Those chemical vapours go into soft furnishings and the walls. The next person going in is not going to know."

    Yet the possible settings are endless.

    "We've had labs in shipping containers buried in the ground, where people go through a hole in the roof and drop down," Dr Culshaw says.

    "We've had labs in commercial facilities ... a company running a legitimate business in pharmaceuticals, but siphoning off materials behind the scenes"

    In Queensland, while manufacture can be highly organised, it is equally undertaken by divergent individuals and collectives maintaining loose supply ties with groups such as outlaw motorcycle gangs.

    Cooks are not chemists. Their methods are either self-taught from internet recipes and other published material, or passed down by others.

    "Labs are a euphemism," says Royal Brisbane Hospital burns unit director Dr Michael Rudd.

    "There isn't too much stainless steel and white coats there."

    It's this lack of formal theory that imperils both makers and users.

    Chemical explosions can, and do, happen. Dr Rudd, who has seen the results, says almost always they're the sort of burns that need surgery.

    For the end-product user, the quality of speed or ice is variable.

    An ill-conceived batch may contain toxic byproducts or impurities. A fraudulent or inept cook without the skill to convert speed to highly purified ice, will introduce the health food supplement methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) to create a crystal-like veneer.

    On the street, ice will fetch $400 per gram, speed powder $165 per gram.

    "Your average speed concentration is about 10 to 15 per cent methamphetamine," Dr Culshaw says.

    "By analysis, with ice, we would expect it to be at least 60 to 70 per cent. But it's not.

    "While it might be ice by appearance, over the last three months, out of 232 items of methamphetamine, we have seen only six which are over 55 per cent."

    Courier-Mail

     

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    #61
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    Man who lent phone for meth deal jailed
    Article from: The Courier-Mail
    March 31, 2009 11:00pm

    A YOUNG drug user who allowed his mobile telephone to be used in methylamphetamine deals was jailed for 15 months on supply charges.

    Anthony James Wagner, 20, faced the Supreme Court in Brisbane yesterday on drug supply charges, which carry a maximum of 20 years' jail.

    Wagner was caught by the wide definition of "supply" in Queensland's drug laws as he was an intermediary in the sales.

    Police found text messages relating to drug dealing on Wagner's phone after they spoke to him in Brisbane's Queen Street Mall last May.

    Justice Margaret White sentenced Wagner to 15 months' jail with a parole eligibility date of July 14, taking into account three months he had spent in custody on remand.

    Barrister Colin Reed, for Wagner, had asked for the sentence to be suspended.

    Mr Reed said Wagner's family had rallied around him in an effort to help him beat drugs.

    Justice White told Wagner she hoped he could beat drugs.

    Wagner pleaded guilty to three counts of supplying drugs, two counts of stealing and one count of possessing a mobile phone used in drug dealing on various dates between May 23 and September 5 last year.

    Prosecutor Lilly Brisick said Wagner had six previous convictions for possessing drugs.

    Courier-Mail

     

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    #62
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    No import controls as pill presses flood into Australia
    Article from: The Courier-Mail
    Matthew Fynes-Clinton and Michael Crutcher
    March 31, 2009 11:00pm

    PILL presses capable of pumping out thousands of illicit drugs are flooding into Australia with no import controls.

    As ecstasy use explodes across the nation, a federal-organised crime-fighting source has told The Courier-Mail of a former NSW outlaw biker who alone imported up to 100 presses.

    He said intelligence had tracked the arrival of 149 presses - destined for use in the manufacture of ecstasy and other illegal tablets - at Australian ports between 2004 and 2007. "All of those have just disappeared into the community," he said.

    The admission comes as a senior chemist reveals the dangers to children exposed to poisonous drug labs.

    And, as The Courier-Mail's special investigation continues, we reveal how drugs are sent routinely through the mail and the ease with which people can obtain drug recipes from the internet.

    The source said pill presses could be bought for $2000 over the internet from Taiwan and China.

    Made-to-order punches and dyes were included to create the tablet logos and looks demanded by illegal pill users.

    The machines were often then sold into the black market for as much as $30,000.

    "Even one of the little ones that punch out 6000 pills an hour - at $10 to $15 a pill (wholesale) - it's a hell of a lot of money," the source said. Some companies were offering false documentation with the presses. "They'll describe them as mixers or machinery, because there's a tariff code with Customs of 'machinery general'.

    "But until there's a commonwealth register or a licensing regime, (the importers) don't have to do anything. They just send their credit card details.

    "And the next thing, the press lands on the doorstep."

    The source blamed the Federal Government, saying no moves had been made to ban the presses despite a history of reports on the problem by intelligence agencies and government-commissioned consultants.

    "The Government's been sitting on its hands for three years over making these machines prohibited imports," he said.

    A spokeswoman for Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus confirmed there was no ban on importing the pill presses. He said there were no plans for a review of the policy.

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    Addictive drugs and their impact on users
    Article from: The Courier-Mail
    March 31, 2009 11:00pm

    LIVE CHAT: Don't be fooled: get the lowdown on a range of addictive substances in our live chat with drugs expert Dr Mark Daglish

    Drugs expert Dr Mark Daglish responds to your questions about amphetamines (and other addictive substances) and their impact on users.


    Drugs expert Dr Mark Daglish

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    #64
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    A son so violent parents had to move
    Article from: The Courier-Mail
    April 01, 2009 11:00pm

    SIX months ago, after M assaulted his dad for the second time, my husband packed ice on his face and said, "I can't do this anymore. I can't live this way."

    So we sold our family home of 20 years, the place I imagined we'd live the rest our lives, and moved to another part of Brisbane with our daughter. We keep the new address secret from our son.

    Having made the move, it's been really good to be able to breathe again. When you're living with a person who's on drugs, you never get to calm down. It feels like your heart's in a vice and it's being squeezed tighter and tighter.

    My son is 26. He first tried speed in Year 10, but began taking it regularly about two years ago. Speed, and ice.

    I never met violence in my life before speed came into our lives. But M became like a tornado that whacked in and whacked out and left everyone thinking, "What the hell justhappened?"

    He'd nick off for days at a time, then go to bed and crash for a day or two. But it's the coming-down side ... when he'd wake and be angry, and to release that anger, he'd punch something. He'd punch holes through the walls and doors. He once threw a rock through the window.

    M had had a history of problems, but initially, I was wondering, "What's going on?" This (hostility) was a new pattern.

    But then I noticed he was wearing long sleeves on hot days. Why do you do that? Because you're hiding your injection site. Eventually, I saw the puncture marks. His elbow pits ... both of them were gone.

    Then you've got these additional worries. Because he's still the thing that you and your husband have made, your perfect human being, or once was, and you're thinking, "Now you've left yourself open to AIDS, Hep C, or God knows what else."

    And for M, speed automatically triggers extreme delusional and paranoid thinking. Because we found out a few years ago he has schizophrenia.

    Not everyone who uses ice and speed has schizophrenia - they might just get the paranoid thinking, without hearing voices reaffirming it.

    But for him, it aggravates his symptoms ... one night he tossed himself off the top of a five or six-storey building.

    His best friend had come to town and they'd gone out and hit a variety of drugs and alcohol.

    The drugs had made him feel so terrible and the voices in his head were saying such horrible stuff, that he just wanted to end the voices.

    He landed in a garden bed that was next to the concrete and smashed bones in his feet and cracked vertebrae, which all healed.

    Of course, as soon as he was well, he wanted to get together with his mates and it was back to the drugs again.

    Even when we do talk now, meeting somewhere or speaking on the phone, I say, "Well, what's the chance of you going down a different path?" And he just says, "It's not happening, Mum. I love drugs."

    He suffered from depression as a very young boy, which we could never get to the root of. And certainly, by Grade 8 or 9, everything was hitting the fan. He was irritable and we were constantly being phoned by the school about behaviour issues. Something was seriously wrong.

    One day, around Year 10, I found out what it was. I followed him to school and he was just outside the school boundary, with a group of others. They all had bloodshot eyes from a freshly-smoked bong.

    Dope-smoking was the beginning of it. I reckon marijuana triggered M's schizophrenia - and then led to the other drugs, including ecstasy. Nobody starts off shooting meth up their arm. It's just all little steps.

    I believe kids who've got involved with drugs young ... they stay mentally arrested at whatever age it was they started.

    So, to a large extent, M still thinks and behaves like a 14-year-old.

    I don't want to cut him off. He's smart and can be funny and nice. The ingredients of a good and functional person are there, and without him, there's a hole in our family. But in the last psychotic episode, he just walked through the door without warning and started thumping into his father.

    When he's our boy, I can recognise that. But when he's not our boy, there's somebody else inside those eyes.

    * - as told to Matthew Fynes-Clinton

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    Children used as pawns
    Article from: The Courier-Mail
    Matthew Fynes-Clinton
    April 01, 2009 11:00pm

    WHEN Sue, 63, watches over her two grandchildren, she feels joy, protectiveness - and a cautious optimism.

    But if she lets her mind drift beyond the soft pink faces to her own daughter's childhood, she gives herself a mental kick.

    "Their mother was a lovely, helpful, gorgeous little girl," she says, "and it would be very easy to become melancholy. But I won't go there. If I go down in a heap, who's going to look after them?

    "No," she says, her voice rising, "when you hear your child is on drugs, it is the most gut-wrenching thing. But when you know there are two beautiful children involved, it beggars belief. How could anyone do that?"

    In December 2004, following the protracted involvement of police, child safety workers and the courts, Sue and her husband Bill were granted permanent guardianship of Hayley, 13 and Anna, 6.

    The girls' mother - Sue and Bill's middle child, 38-year-old Mia - is, or has been, addicted to marijuana, speed and alcohol.

    With the little contact they have these days, Sue says she's never exactly sure where on the gauge of drug abuse Mia is pointed. However, she's come to expect the worst.

    The Brisbane southside couple are among hundreds of Queensland grandparents, all with drug-addicted children, who are definitely not living the extolled superannuants' dream.

    But pushing retirement back to raise a family a second time around has its own rewards. In any case, it's far preferable to the nightmare that went immediately before.

    Maree Lubach, co-founder of Gold Coast-based KinKare, established in 2002 to help grandparents responsible for rearing grandchildren, says 90 per cent of the group's members have children with a drug or alcohol problem.

    "And before looking after your grandchildren (becomes a reality), there's dealing with your own adult child's addiction ..." she says.

    "Living with them abusing you or being aggressive towards you. Getting calls in the middle of the night threatening suicide and to take the kids with them.

    "Having things hocked behind your back to pay for the drugs. Nearly every one of us has had our houses broken into.

    "And then there's the people they owe money to in the drug scene, knocking on your door and demanding (cash).

    "It's a frightening experience."

    Mia's downward spiral began inside the home she shared with her de facto husband and their child Hayley, then 2. "I'd call in and there'd be empty spirit bottles everywhere and absolute cretins from one end of the place to the other," Sue recalls.

    "Mia had had a good job, but she'd stopped working.

    "One night, I went over there late and she was on the couch passed out and Hayley was wandering round the house looking for food.

    "Mia woke up and her eyes ... you have no idea ... she was absolutely off her face. She came and grabbed me by the throat and punched me in the back of the head twice."

    About the same time, Sue learnt from one of her daughter's distressed friends that Mia was "doing speed". "I said to her, 'You're joking.' And she said, 'No, she injects it between her toes'."

    In Sue's mind, another late-night incident would confirm Mia's addiction to methamphetamine.

    The drug, either in the powdered form of speed or the higher-purity, crystalline ice, is renowned for sparking acute episodes of aggression and delusional paranoia.

    "This time, she rang up calling me a so-and-so, and said, 'Someone's come in and written on the wall, You're dead, slut - in blood'. So I went over ... and there was nothing on the wall."

    Sue and Bill turned fraught over the welfare of Hayley. Thus began a long and not-always smooth relationship with the Child Safety department.

    "Hayley had told them she'd seen syringes on the floor," Sue says.

    "And Mia was always threatening to kill herself and Hayley, rather than let us have her.

    "But the big problem was, Mia's a very smart girl. Whenever Child Safety officers went out to visit her, she'd (somehow) present well."

    By now, Hayley's sister Anna, born to another father, was walking.

    "One day, thank God, Hayley had the presence of mind to turn around on her way to school as Anna was about to cross a main road," Sue recounts.

    "She'd let herself out of the house because her mother slept all day, crashing out after the drugs."

    Finally, aged 8, Hayley sobbed in her nanna's lap, asking: "Can you take me to the department?"

    The long-term guardianship - until the children reach 18 - has been formalised through the Family Court. Before that happened, Bill had been semi-retired and Sue intended to remain in her career for a few more years. Both have since quit.

    "We'd planned to travel," she says. "But the children didn't ask to be born and they deserve the best you can give them.

    "Bill's a self-funded retiree, we get a carer's allowance of $900 a fortnight and are OK financially.

    "Mia? That's the big question. I don't know why she chose this way. She still has some contact with the kids, but that's another thing with druggies, they think they own their children.

    "You don't. You owe your children."

    *Names have been changed

    Courier-Mail

     

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    #66
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    Stirred to get radical
    Article from: AAP
    By Jane Fynes-Clinton
    April 01, 2009 11:00pm

    THE smiling face of teenager Blair Vaina beaming from Tuesday's The Courier-Mail and her mother's honest account of what led to her death from drugs moved me to feel outrage, fear and, yes, brought me to tears.

    The story was shocking because, while drugs are not directly in my life, Liz Vaina's account showed drugs are indiscriminate in delivering disaster or tragedy.

    When you have children about Blair's age, reality bites and the enormousness of Vaina's love for her daughter and the pain of her loss reverberate.

    Vaina's story also brought into sharp relief the hopelessness of the drugs situation in Queensland, as highlighted in this week's The Courier-Mail campaign.

    It is clear that unless something radical happens, beautiful Blair will not be the last Queenslander to die from drugs. Not by a long shot.

    It is going to take a huge shift in thinking, because the platform from which most plans of attack against drugs are launched - the justice and legal system - has been shown to be ineffective.

    As US president, Richard Nixon was the first to officially declared a war on drugs, calling drugs "public enemy No.1" in 1971.

    Since then, politicians of all colours have taken on his approach and it has been a vote-winner: they identify drugs as an enemy of the people, demonise them and those who use them and follow up with forceful law-and-order solutions as a way to defeat them.

    In Queensland, we have more conservative processes in place than ever, with a multitude of laws and measures such as drug tests on the roadside and sniffer dogs at music festivals.

    But illicit drugs have never been more evident and, as the series this week has shown, they are getting more dangerous. The Federal Government proudly says it has pumped more than $1 billion into its Tough on Drugs Strategy since its launch in 1997.

    It says it is a "balanced and integrated approach to reducing the supply of and demand for illicit drugs".

    In 1998, the United Nations General Assembly called for a drug-free world by 2008. Millions were spent and strategies mostly aimed at controlling supply were implemented. The result? The extent of drug use in developed nations and drug production in developing ones have never been greater.

    The complexities of the webs drugs weave because they are illegal have never and will never be fixed with the system of fining, penalising or jailing.

    The truth - a terrifying thing to admit - is that none of what we are doing now is working. And because of the funding focus on tough law-and-order measures to try to control, important strategies are being neglected.

    Drug Arm's chief Dennis Young wrote in these pages about the crying need for more funding for non-government agencies to offer the treatment, prevention and education programs.

    I don't think it is realistic any more to believe we can stamp out most illegal drug use. The terrible cycle of crime, violence and hopelessness can only be stopped with a radical move, a brave step towards looking at the problem in its entirety, not just whether the effects of drug-taking need to be quashed or punished.

    Perhaps we need a person like former Californian judge James Gray, who this week in the Los Angeles Times renewed a call for the legalisation, regulation and tax on the sale of marijuana. He said if that plan were successful, the Government could then move on to apply the same strategy to other drugs.

    Gray said his frustration was born from 25 years on the bench, where he found he could send offenders of crimes that were alcohol-related to detox or rehab programs, but not those involved in drugs cases. He said the only way to break the crime-and-violence cycle was to bring it out into the open.

    "Anyone who wants illegal drugs can easily get them, but doing so may put them in harm's way," he said. "Wouldn't it be smarter to sell the drugs at government stores, so advertising could be outlawed, taxes collected on one of California's biggest cash crops and drug gangs eradicated?" he said.

    Gray's model would see half the revenue generated from taxing and regulating drugs ploughed back into drug prevention education.

    It is a radical idea, but one thoroughly thought through.

    It is refreshing that in some places, the strategy for dealing with the drugs scourge is shifting. The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, admitted this week that the US hunger for drugs had in part brought about the drug cartels' killing spree in Mexico. Acceptance of responsibility is the first step in change.

    I find myself torn, like so many parents. In principle, I don't want drugs legalised because I don't want them to be accommodated or accepted in our society. But I want safety, surety and help for those who use drugs and these things cannot be available while drugs are illicit and their content is often unknown and uncontrolled.

    The war rages. Politicians posture and issue threats, police enforce laws and strategies to deal with drugs rain down while the casualties - dead and semi-alive - pile up.

    The winners of the current system are the dealers, the gangs, the low-lifes who make the stuff and their business, social and financial networks.

    There must be a better way.

    For now, it is the rest of us, the law abiders, who are the biggest losers.

    Courier-Mail

     

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    #67
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    Reality comes close to home
    Article from: The Courier-Mail
    By Rory Gibson
    April 01, 2009 11:00pm

    YOU know how some people advocate taking teenagers to the orthopedic ward of a hospital before they get their licence so they can see the carnage caused by driving drunk or too fast?

    While they are there they should slip into the psychiatric ward and see what fate befalls many drug users.

    The Acute Observation Area of the Mental Health Unit at Princess Alexandra Hospital is a scary place.

    R-rated too, because they won't let in anyone under 18. It is no place for kids, and tough for an adult to stomach.

    It is a prison really, with a high level of security. You are asked to put anything that could be used as a weapon - keys, pens, cigarette lighters - into a locker before you can mingle with the patients.

    There's only a few plastic chairs and tables in the "recreation" area where most of them spend their days smoking, the boredom interrupted only by nurses plying the haunted individuals who inhabit this place with medication to keep them calm. They fire up their durries using a push-button lighter, similar to those in cars, which is embedded into one of the walls.

    "It doesn't stop people shoving their fingers into it though," my brother shrugs during my recent visit.

    D is there courtesy of repeated bouts of drug-induced psychosis, brought on by his fondness for injecting the drug speed, more specifically crystal meth, or ice as it is known.

    It is not his first time in the mental health unit, but it will be his longest after he was taken there by police last month following an incident in the city in which he drove his car into the foyer of some city council offices in a bid to destroy a sculpture he believed was a symbol of a secret global conspiracy.

    To his psychotic way of thinking, it was up to him to warn the rest of the world about the so-called Illuminati and the Freemasons, who control everything we do and wipe out humanity - except for a select band of conspirators - every 5000 years or so as part of an Earth-cleansing ritual.

    Over the past three years I have watched with increasing helplessness as my brother lost his grip on reality, his thriving building business ended in a flurry of litigation and debt, his girlfriend fled interstate and his young children grew bewildered at what was happening to him.

    As his need for speed grew, those things that anchor a person in a community - family, friends, self-respect and regard for the law and the property and peace of mind of one's neighbours - were shredded in a crazy whirl of nightmarish delusions.

    With nowhere to live, he took up residence in our mother's backyard shed, content to get high and nurture his conspiracy theories by trawling the internet for evidence and communicating only with other freaked-out individuals convinced the end was nigh.

    The stress that arrangement heaped on our mother was immense. A pensioner in her 70s, her health suffered as nearby residents took offence, understandably, at my brother's psychotic and at times frightening behaviour.

    The police became frequent visitors as mum desperately tried to find someone, anyone, in the Queensland health system who would help her son.

    Late last year the police had him admitted to the mental health unit, again, after an altercation with mum in which she feared he would turn violent.

    After a few weeks they let him out, with promises that he would be monitored. That certainly happened for a short while, but then his case officer just stopped turning up, no doubt swamped by an oppressive workload. Soon he was back taking drugs, making life hell for all those close to him.

    Those who care about him live in dread that any minute we will receive a phone call informing us that he has harmed himself or others, or worse, taken his life or been gunned down by the police.

    One morning in February I was pulling into a carpark at Currimundi on the Sunshine Coast for an early morning surf, when the radio news carried a report about a man crashing his car into a city building and then fleeing the scene.

    As soon as the newsreader said that the driver was believed to have mental health issues and the police were still looking for him, a nagging fear began to grow in my core.

    Then I heard my mother's voice on the radio. She had rung the station to assure everyone my brother was not violent, and to have a crack at the mental health policies in Queensland that had so far failed him and us.

    The police found D later that day sitting quietly on a park bench at The Gap, and back to the PA he went.

    He's not alone though. The Mental Health Unit is full of people with drug-related mental health problems.

    When I visit him, I am struck by the fact that D appears to be the most "normal" person in there. One patient stares at me the entire time I'm there. Unnerved, I ask D why that patient was there.

    "She stabbed someone," he reveals in a neutral voice, as if it's quite natural that one would do such a thing.

    The people at the frontline of this horrible war - police and health workers - are exhausted and frustrated at having to deal with psychotic drug users.

    Drug counsellors will tell you that unless a user really wants to give up, no amount of treatment or incarceration will stop the destructive habit. D acknowledges this, but he hasn't decided whether he wants to stop using. His story, like all those involving drugs, will most likely have a sad ending unless he can pull himself from ice's grip. I hope he does, because I never want to visit him in that hospital again.

    * Rory Gibson is a senior Courier-Mail journalist

    Courier-Mail

     

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    #68
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    Figures show surge of addicted babies in Queensland
    Article from: The Courier-Mail
    Matthew Fynes-Clinton
    April 01, 2009 11:00pm

    A DRUG-ADDICTED baby is born in Queensland hospitals almost every two days, latest figures reveal.

    Queensland Health records show that in 2007,159 infants were born with "neonatal withdrawal symptoms" as a result of their mothers' drug addiction.

    Ten years ago, the number was 89.

    Mater Mothers' Hospital neonatologist Paul Woodgate said most of the babies were delivered to mothers on opiate-replacement therapy, such as methadone.

    Withdrawal symptoms, which could last in the babies for several weeks, included "discomfort, tremors and jitters".

    The babies were treated with morphine or sedatives.

    However, Dr Woodgate said statistics could underestimate the true extent of infant drug withdrawal.

    "If you were looking at the number of babies who are being monitored for potential withdrawal, you could double the figure," he said.

    "And then if you look at those babies where there has been heavy (maternal) cannabis or amphetamine use, but they wouldn't go into a special care nursery - but be kept in hospital for a few extra days - you would double the figure again."

    Dr Woodgate said the Mater had been bracing for an explosion in withdrawal cases involving children of mothers addicted to methamphetamines such as speed and ice.

    He said that, while the fears had not been realised, 8 to 15 per cent of clients at the Mater's specialised antenatal clinic for drug-dependent mothers were methamphetamine users.

    "It's a significant part of our clinic," Dr Woodgate said.

    Child Safety officers say they see growing numbers of women from Logan and Ipswich maternity hospitals who report amphetamine-type drug use.

    Dr Woodgate said babies born to meth-addicted mothers tended to "crash", similar to a speed-user after bingeing.

    "They're quiet, neurologically depressed, sleepy, hard to rouse. They don't wake up and cry spontaneously."

    While most recovered in a few days without medication, Dr Woodgate said there could be grave outcomes.

    "We know that children whose mums are heavy methamphetamine users are at increased risk of antenatal delivery complications," he said.

    "There's evidence of an increased risk of stillbirth and premature delivery. They're more likely to be smaller babies.

    "But with these babies, there's lifestyle factors as well. With mums who have significant methamphetamine problems, everything else is a disaster.

    "They're in and out of jail and malnourished, and so the babies are at (added) risk because of the poor general health in the environment."

    However, studies had not yet been done to ascertain whether babies of methamphetamine addicts experienced long-term difficulties.

    Mater researcher Ann Kingsbury said many drug-users who fell pregnant were "wracked by guilt" and determined to "work towards having a healthy baby."

    Courier-Mail

     

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    #69
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    Rogue chemist employs the internet to spread the word
    Article from: The Courier-Mail
    Matthew Fynes-Clinton
    March 31, 2009 11:00pm

    A CLICK of the mouse and 206 pages of Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture, 7th edition, by "Uncle Fester", drops on the hard-drive.

    A seconds-long process, and there is my manual for mind games; my 26 chapters to enlightenment (apparently).
    Funny that the journalist describes downloading old uncle fester's guide, has a big coloured picture accompanying the article with the url plainly visible, then goes on to mention how possessing said document is a felony. Nice work there Matthew Fynes-Clinton, way to incriminate yourself and let everyone who reads the courier mail know just what guide to look for if they ever want to cook themselves some amps.... free advertising for uncle fester's guide?
     

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    #70
    C'mon guys! This has got to have been the quietest thread about the biggest piece of negative publicity i've seen on these boards!!

    Get angry! Flood the journalists inbox with positive information and links.invite him, CHALLENGE HIM to see what its really like...

    the Courier has declared war on us, in essence, we've all been lumped in as a single group, made to be as bad as the worst 1% of us, slandered in the press...

    and not one peep?

    Ideas, comments, ways to correct imbalance? The CM has served, the ball's in our court. Its as much a PR campaign as any other...

    Pleas dont tell me i'm the only one seething after reading a week of lies lies lies lies?
     

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    #71
    Bluelight Crew belarki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alfisti72 View Post
    Pleas dont tell me i'm the only one seething after reading a week of lies lies lies lies?
    It's sensationalist journalism. That's there job though, no one would buy papers if they were all about rainbows, lollypops and sunshine.... The problem is too few people critically analyse mass media and just accept it as truth

    Did you read the daily letters to the paper that were published? They were all either "legalise drugs completely to remove the criminal element and spend money on education, rehabilitation, harm minimisation, etc" (yay!) or "drug users should burn in hell! On with the war on drugs!"

    Don't get me started on the war on drugs. Certain poltical elements of the US are only just accepting that their little crusade is directly related to the thousands of deaths in north mexico in the last couple of years...

    It's ridiculous that here in Ausralia, where we have the highest recreational drug use per capita in the world, that we're still taking this tough on drugs stance.
     

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    #72
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    Meh is all I have to say to those articles.
     

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    #73
    Quote Originally Posted by belarki View Post
    It's sensationalist journalism. That's there job though, no one would buy papers if they were all about rainbows, lollypops and sunshine.... The problem is too few people critically analyse mass media and just accept it as truth

    Did you read the daily letters to the paper that were published? They were all either "legalise drugs completely to remove the criminal element and spend money on education, rehabilitation, harm minimisation, etc" (yay!) or "drug users should burn in hell! On with the war on drugs!"

    Don't get me started on the war on drugs. Certain poltical elements of the US are only just accepting that their little crusade is directly related to the thousands of deaths in north mexico in the last couple of years...

    It's ridiculous that here in Ausralia, where we have the highest recreational drug use per capita in the world, that we're still taking this tough on drugs stance.
    Yeah, I understand the paper sensationalises issues to sell more papers, and yes I've been onto the CM site.. but there's only a handful of responses there..

    I'm just surprised that the general response has indeed been, 'meh' thats all.

    Surely we can use the momentum thats been generated for our benefit, instead of the hysterical 'drugs are bad' getting all the press....

    thats all, really..
     

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    #74
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    ...and it continues.


    Dad steals kids' presents
    Thursday, April 2, 2009
    © The Cairns Post

    HE stole his children's Christmas presents, four cars and strangers' money - all for drugs.

    In a crime spree that lasted weeks, and went from Brisbane to Atherton, Jason Jay Larner racked up 22 charges, including four of fraud, six unlawful use of a motor vehicle, two burglary, one unlawful entry, one enter a dwelling and one of wilful damage.

    Yesterday, the Cairns Magistrates’ Court heard Larner, 30, went on a rampage after he was told his child – who was born nine weeks premature – would die.

    In one of the more bizarre crimes, Brisbane-based Larner pushed a security camera away as he unsuccessfully tried to steal money from a payphone.

    He later cut the line to the phone in an attempt to steal the it.

    Larner admitted, among other crimes, to ditching a stolen Holden at Smithfield before throwing the keys into a rubbish bin.

    He also told police he broke into a safe at the Atherton Hotel and stole more than $1500 in $1 coins and $5 notes.

    But police caught up with Larner at Cairns airport as he tried to fly to Darwin to see his mother, on February 4.

    He had already bought a ticket.

    Larner said he went on the rampage because he "just wanted to shoot up on heroin" after he heard about his baby.

    At the start of the spree, he had stolen his children’s Christmas presents in Brisbane to feed his addiction.

    Magistrate Trevor Black said he was giving Larner the "chance of your life".

    "How low can a man be if he steal’s his own children's Christmas presents?" he said.

    Larner was already in custody for a breach of parole for dangerous driving and obstructing police in 2008.

    He was sentenced to three years’ jail but his parole eligibility date was unchanged, set for March 31, 2010.

    Cairns Post

     

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    #75
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    Sad answers to Rosie Bebendorf's life of questions
    Article from: The Courier-Mail
    Michael Wray
    April 02, 2009 11:00pm

    SEARCHING for lessons in the short troubled life of Rosie Clentie Bebendorf was never going to be easy for her parents.

    She was complex but fragile. Happy and sad. Dearly loved, yet all alone. A charismatic friend and an "absolute monster".

    Yet somewhere in this muddle of facts and clues, anecdotes and memories, truth and fiction, lies the path of a woman who battled life and herself for 28 years and two days but lost out when two ecstasy pills poisoned her body early on New Year's Day.

    Many people – police, her friends, psychologists, and drug experts – have an interest in retracing Rosie's tortured path towards those little pills.

    But none as much as her parents, high school teachers Gerry and Neville.

    Rosie was the eldest of their three children, so named because it sounded "pretty".

    Thorns

    And as Mr Bebendorf told 200 mourners at her funeral in January, she inherited many characteristics of the flower at the root of her name.

    Beautiful and fragile, she was full of thorns: anxiety, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, bulimia, anorexia and drug addiction, he said.

    "However the rose bush is a strong and hardy plant and Rosie was a tenacious fighter who survived the harsh conditions of her environment, struggling for friendships, a career and purpose in life," Mr Bebendorf said.

    "It is a sad and seemingly unjust irony that when Rosie was once again beginning to make progress in fighting her demons, had friends around her who loved her for herself and her frailties, that she tempted fate once too often and this time did not get away with it."

    Well before Rosie's death, the Bebendorfs began navigating the seemingly impenetrable fog of their daughter's life, searching for answers to the dark moods and anger suffocating her happiness.

    "We knew when she was about 15 or 16 that something was wrong but she wouldn't go for help or diagnosis or to a psychiatrist," said Mrs Bebendorf as she sat in the family's comfortable Dutton Park home, on Brisbane's southside.

    "She actually functioned pretty well throughout adolescence until 21 or 22. She was a very, very clever girl and hid a lot of stuff.

    "Even as a little girl she was really up and down, really lacked self esteem and was bullied a lot."

    School days were tough, shifting between Brisbane and Winton, struggling to make friends and watching the few she had move away.

    Despair

    Disappointment grew into despair at Brisbane's All Hallows' School.

    Time after time Rosie "just missed out" on extra-curricular activities that could have launched her into the elusive "cool" group.

    Rosie, a creative and artistic child, developed an eating disorder and told the school's guidance counsellor she wanted out.

    She moved to Holland Park High School and life improved. She made friends and her marks lifted. But mixing with a new crowd she took cannabis for the first time.

    After school, Rosie drifted in and out of university and worked a succession of jobs as a personal assistant and in call centres.

    Mrs Bebendorf said at "exactly 23 Rosie tried amphetamines for the first time".

    "She said that when she tried amphetamines it felt really good but she knew she'd never be the same again and could never be right," Mrs Bebendorf said.

    Mrs Bebendorf, who does most of the talking, accepts she did all she could but is nagged by the thought that maybe she missed too much.

    Bad breaks

    Mr Bebendorf gets frustrated as he lists some of the innumerable small breaks that went against Rosie.

    The boyfriend who didn't call the ambulance as soon as Rosie passed out on New Year's Day. The court-ordered drug diversion program that lasted 10 minutes.

    The private hospital that turned Rosie away because she was too noisy. The public hospital that refused her because she wasn't psychotic enough.

    She ran out of chances on that New Year's Eve when she went out to celebrate. The end result was a tragedy and a series of questions that may never be answered.

    "On the night, the police have told us that there were reports she was already under the weather, already something, alcohol or whatever, so whoever sold her that stuff or gave it to her, she was already you know . . . ," Mr Bebendorf said.

    "Smashed," said Mrs Bebendorf.

    Mr Bebendorf continued: "So they're giving her something that is potentially fatal to a person who is not in a condition to decide whether they should take it or not."

    The Bebendorfs do not know from where Rosie got the pills. She was out with a new boyfriend.

    "She died at his place at Gordon Park. I don't know what time they got home but she died about 6.30 in the morning," Mrs Bebendorf said.

    "She sort of passed out and I think he put her in the bath or something and she came to and then she just went to bed and went to sleep and that's when she started fitting.

    "Then he called the ambulance."

    Mr Bebendorf laments that the ambulance was not called the moment Rosie showed problem signs.

    "It mightn't have made a difference but it would have been nice. Everybody's got a bloody mobile phone on them these days," he said.

    Grief

    The following months have been a time of learning and grief for the family.

    Mr Bebendorf has lost patience with harm minimisation advocates who tell young people that if they must take drugs they should at least take them with a friend.

    "What's the good of that if the friends doing it, too?" he said.

    Mrs Bebendorf, however, believes "harm minimisation is better than nothing".

    Since Rosie's death they have offered to help improve publicity for Life Education, a healthy living program for school children that is seeking government funding.

    Mrs Bebendorf said they had seen positive results from the program in their time as school teachers.

    She said it took a holistic view of drugs, viewing them as one of the many potentially hazardous choices children needed information about to live safe and healthy lives.

    "I really have no solutions other than 'don't take them, they're not good for you'," she said.

    Courier-Mail

     

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