Children sell toys for drugs
By CATHERINE MADDEN
WA children are selling their PlayStations to buy amphetamines.
The state's only detox clinic for young people has revealed that children as young as 14 are selling toys and stealing from parents to buy methamphetamine or speed, a potent drug that can be swallowed, smoked or injected.
Mission Australia's youth withdrawal and respite service says 41 per cent of its clients – aged between 12 and 21 – are trying to kick speed habits.
Its use has far outstripped cannabis and heroin, to make it the No.1 illicit drug of choice among the state's youth.
Service manager Carmen Acosta said young people turned to speed when they wanted to have a good time – but addiction often pushed them into crime.
"Speed seems to be one of those drugs that becomes problematic fairly early on in the piece," she said. "Young people see it as a party drug.
"It starts with a group of mates all putting in together to have a good time.
"If it's $10 to $30, they can cover it with pocket money. When the drug-taking becomes something more, they don't have the money.
"That's when the stage comes in when they start stealing from their families and selling or swapping the goods and selling their own goods. They will sell their PlayStations, their sports gear.
"When the items at home have been used up, there's a level of crime that starts occurring – break-and-enters."
Ms Acosta said most addicts were between 15 and 19 and 66 per cent were boys.
Addicts came from a wide range of backgrounds.
Her staff had noted a correlation between children prescribed amphetamine-based medication for attention-deficit disorders and a teenage addiction to speed.
One in 20 Australians 14 and over report using the drug.
From The Sunday Times