Ice epidemic blamed for spiralling youth crisis

A TREATMENT facility for children addicted to ice has been flagged as the State Government struggles to get a grip on the state's spiralling youth offender problem.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk floated the idea as pressure mounts to solve detention centre overcrowding that's seeing up to 80 children a week kept in police watchhouses as overflow accommodation.

The Government has insisted it hasn't fumbled its transition of 17-year-olds from adult jails into juvenile centres and rather has been caught out by rising numbers of arrests.

She said underlying social issues, like drug use, sexual abuse, family violence and negligent parenting were all contributing.

"A lot of young people are committing crime because they are on ice," she said.

"So I've had a conversation with the Health Minister, the Deputy Premier just the other day after Cabinet.

"We were talking about where we can have a young person's ice rehabilitation centre."

Pressed for details, she said it was "early days" and the Government would consult with health professionals.

The Palaszczuk Government has blamed a rise in ice use for an explosion in the numbers of children in youth detention centres.
The Palaszczuk Government has blamed a rise in ice use for an explosion in the numbers of children in youth detention centres.

Mr Miles confirmed he'd been asked to look at the need for a dedicated youth rehabilitation service and the most appropriate model of care.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington accused the Premier of "mock outrage".

"What? Has the Premier just woken up today and realised that we've got a problem?" she said.

"This is someone who has been the premier for over four years and she's done nothing in relation to the ice problem."

Youth Affairs Network Queensland director Siyavash Doostkhah said such a facility was long overdue, but it should be a dedicated rehabilitation facility rather than another place to lock children up.

 

Youth advocates say a specialist drug rehab should help young people with ice addictions, not lock them up.
Youth advocates say a specialist drug rehab should help young people with ice addictions, not lock them up.

"These young people are crying out for help and we're just punishing them," he said.

He said treatment needed to be flexible as the ice problem moved with the drug makers.

"It pops up in the community as a major problem and within a year or two it shifts to a different community because the cops bust them," he said.