Author Archive for: ‘SCOTT_SAWYER’
Sea change sparks professional rehab flurry

A SHIFT from Maleny’s rolling hills has sparked an increase in professionals entering rehabilitation on the Sunshine Coast.

The Health Retreat, which had two facilities in Maleny, has moved into one central facility in Kiels Mountain.

The major relocation earlier this year sparked a flurry of high-profile professionals seeking treatment at the facility.

Owner Francis McLaughlan said the shift to a “more central location” had led to more professionals coming to the centre.

He said being closer to the airport had also made a difference, as people flew in from interstate and overseas.

“Within 10 minutes (of landing) they’re in a room,” Mr McLaughlan said.

With the new semi-rural setting Mr McLaughlan said it enabled people to go for early-morning beach walks three to four times a week.

“The accommodation is brilliant now too,” he said.

The new facility, according to Core Logic property data, boasts 11 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms and was an old bed and breakfast, complete with commercial kitchen, fireplace, cabins and pool spread over 5.9ha.

Mr McLaughlan said they’d spent “a few hundred thousand” on the facility during the transition and they were currently building four new cabins, which were due to be finished by the end of the year.

The new facility has a doctor and psychologist on staff and Mr McLaughlan said they were now delving deeper into the physiological side through blood testing and other analysis to help patients.

Depression and anxiety are the two main issues the retreat deals with, as well as the self-medication of alcohol, drugs and prescription medicine associated with the two disorders.

Mr McLaughlan said patients ranged in age from late teens to recent attendees, women aged 65-70, who had spent decades in the mental health system.

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False mis­sile threat in­spires new per­spec­tive

A HINTERLAND health retreat and rehab facility operator is urging people to embrace life after being caught up in the harrowing Hawaiian fake missile threat.

Francis McLachlan, his wife Carol and their 18-year-old son were in Waikiki Beach on the morning the message arrived telling them their fates were sealed.

Mr McLachlan said it was just after 8am on January 13 at the picturesque destination when his wife’s phone beeped with an amber alert giving emergency advice a ballistic missile strike was imminent.

A few moments later the hotel screens read that a missile impact was just minutes away and that it was “not a drill”.

“We go to a ground level part of a beachfront hotel and find a stairwell below ground, waiting for a ballistic missile to strike,” Mr McLachlan recalled.

He recounted the emotional goodbyes they said between them as he awaited the missile’s impact and the “horrific death for my beautiful wife and 18-year-old son”.

Within 10 minutes they received the all clear, the alert had been an error and there was no missile threat, but Mr McLachlan said the damage had been done.

He said he tried to comfort everyone he came

Weasa family live in a scary world, what time we have let’s make it special for ourselves and our family. — Francis McLachlan

in contact with, including the elderly, and the relief when the all clear came had been enormous.

But when they went to go out to eat the area was deserted, as guests walked around in shock.

“We go to eat and there are no people, no guests, no staff. The staff have gone home to be with their families, to be with them as a family as an imminent missile alert was current, not a drill,” he said.

“To everyone in Honolulu, that warning, ballistic missile, they believed they would die,” Mr McLachlan said.

The owner of The Health Retreat at Maleny urged everyone to “enjoy life” to sort out depression, anxiety and self-medication issues and embrace life every day.

“We as a family live in a scary world, what time we have let’s make it special for ourselves and our family,” he said.

Mr McLachlan had been in Hawaii on a break in between meeting with a group of Canadians exploring options to open another Health Retreat in Canada to combat the rise of Fentanyl, which he said was cheaper and more powerful than heroin and killing “thousands per year” in Canada and the US.

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Ice deliveries cost less than pizza on the Sunshine Coast

ICE deliveries cheaper than pizza is ensuring the war on drugs wages on across the Sunshine Coast.

It’s not just troubled youths using either, with lawyers, doctors and surgeons among the professionals becoming addicted as they cope with trauma, or deal with work pressures, The Sunshine Coast Daily reports.

Anecdotally, cocaine use is rising in prevalence, but remains expensive, while heroin is still being used by “old time” drug addicts.

Sunshine Coast CIB officer in charge, Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards said last year’s major raids had slowed the flow of ice into the region, but rising cases of imported ice were aiding a resurgence in the scourge.

“Ice is still pretty predominant here,” Det Snr Sgt Edwards said.

He said cocaine use was happening in some night-time precincts, but the main cause of offences, including property theft, remained ice.

“It is frustrating,” he said.

Emily W, a provisional psychologist and admissions manager at The Health Retreat, a private rehab facility west of Maleny, said they were treating people from all over Australia, with ice the most common addiction patients were trying to kick.

“It’s not just the Sunshine Coast,” she said.

“Ice is very cheap and very accessible. It comes a lot through the post and through deliveries.

“It is a lot cheaper than alcohol.”

The Reesville-based facility has treated more than 2000 people in its six years of operation.

Emily said they’d had clients tell them it was easier, and cheaper, to order a delivery of ice than a pizza.

“For a night out it’s more affordable to get ice then alcohol,” she said.

She said professionals were among their common clients, with the “performance pressure” so big many turned to ice, sometimes cocaine, to cope.

“We’ve had lawyers, doctors, surgeons from across the country,” Emily said.

She said younger patients were also common, with ecstasy use another drug issue patients were seeking help with.

She said heroin used to be one of the more common addictions, but the cheap street price of ice had seen heroin addictions decline in most parts except Melbourne, where it was “still big”.

Alcohol abuse remained a common issue for middle-aged people dealing with depression or anxiety.

Emily said the common denominator with all patients was they were dealing with some sort of trauma or underlying issue, when using drugs or abusing alcohol.

“It’s amazing, you would think it’s just the lower socio-economic people that take these drugs,” she said, recalling a high-profile legal professional in his 60s who presented with ice addiction.

Moffat Beach Brewing Co owner Matt Wilson said he’d seen rare instances of cocaine use in venues, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t prevalent.

“I’ve come from Sydney where it was absolutely rife,” he said.

Sunshine Coast Local Medical Association president Dr Roger Faint said ice was not a regular issue for GPs to deal with, but said it was affecting young people and causing significant issues in emergency departments and had caused regular problems in Caloundra previously.

“It’s cheaper than drinking,” Dr Faint said.

“It affects young people. It’s a super adrenaline hit.”

He said the come downs were particularly dangerous, and often times ice abuse was linked to other underlying mental health issues, which had to be diagnosed to help treat the person, but ultimately it was down to the addict to want to help themselves if treatment was to be successful.

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Palmer silent over government bid to tackle meth

THERE are plenty committed to beating the ice epidemic sweeping the nation, but it would appear Federal Member for Fairfax Clive Palmer is not among them, if his silence is anything to go by.

As local politicians sent their thoughts on the battle with crystal meth (ice) to the Federal Government’s Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement inquiry into crystal meth and Coast rehab experts told of their experiences, Mr Palmer offered nothing to the Daily.

When asked whether he’d made submissions to the inquiry, or what he believed was needed to combat the growing problem, Mr Palmer and his Palmer United Party staffers were unable to provide any response.

Francis McLachlan, owner of The Health Retreat, a Maleny rehab centre, said he was seeing more and more ice addicts present to his centre from increasingly varied age brackets.

“Unfortunately it’s an area epidemic for the Sunshine Coast,” Mr McLachlan said.

“It’s not only in Maroochydore and Mooloolaba; it stretches far into the hinterland.”

Mr McLachlan said he thought we’d lost a generation, and felt the best way to combat the growing drug problem was to focus on the next generation through improved education in schools, not only in stress management but also in improving self-worth and engagement.

“The only way to attack the ice issue is by education or re-education of young people and you’ll see the results in five-to-10 years,” he said.

“We need to teach them to like themselves and enjoy interaction with people.”

Mr McLachlan said encouraging kids to engage with their families was also critical.

“We all know who Captain Cook was, who crossed the Blue Mountains, but not once do our schools teach us how to deal with stress and it’s the one thing we’ll encounter every day,” he said.

“It used to be alcohol, now it’s crystal meth.”

Federal Member for Fisher Mal Brough said he’d recently met with top Coast police to ensure any response taken by the Federal Government would be an approach coordinated with police.

Meanwhile State Member for Buderim, Steve Dickson, wrote to the Parliamentary Committee calling for a coordinated response from a number of government departments, including looking at introducing nationwide laws targeting criminal bikie gangs, in a bid to combat the production and distribution of crystal meth.

Mr McLachlan said there were other social factors that needed to change, including the fact that he believed ice was becoming more appealing for young people than alcohol.

Despite being given an extended period to provide a response, Mr Palmer was unable to say whether he believed ice was an issue, what he would do to combat the issue and whether or not he had found the time in his schedule to provide a submission to the Parliamentary Committee.

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A CRIMINOLOGIST says the Bali Nine pair awaiting execution in Indonesia are being punished worse than terrorists and their deaths will be an opportunity missed.

University of the Sunshine Coast’s Bachelor of Criminology and Justice co-ordinator Professor Tim Prenzler condemned the pending executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Prof Prenzler said he agreed with public sentiment that the pair had turned the corner and had been rehabilitated.

He argued they could be best served educating others about the perils of the drug trade rather than being killed in what he believed would be an unsuccessful attempt at deterrence.

“I would agree with the general comment that they do appear to be repentant and to show evidence of rehabilitation and I think they could be used more effectively,” Prof Prenzler said. “There are other Indonesian cases where terrorists haven’t been sentenced to death.”

Prof Prenzler said he did not think the execution of Chan and Sukumaran would have any impact on the Indonesian-Australian drug trade.

“Unfortunately a lot of these people are young men who think they’re bulletproof…they think they’re smart and then there are other drug mules who are coerced, so I think it’s unlikely to have any impact on the illegal drug supply to and from Indonesia,” he said.

Francis McLachlan, of the hinterland rehabilitation centre The Health Retreat, said he dealt with drug-addicted people daily, and believed that Chan and Sukumaran had “done their time” and could be better served educating drug addicts and offenders about how to break away from the cycle.

“To take someone’s life is a pretty absolute thing to do… they could be advocates for not using or dealing drugs,” Mr McLachlan said.

“People like this can give so much back if given the chance.”

Mr McLachlan likened their pending executions as “double jeopardy” after already being subjected to 10 years in prison.

“I’m the most anti-drug person on the planet, I see what it does to people,” he said.

“At least give them a chance. You’ve got to give people a chance to change their lives. They can make a huge difference, particularly with the 20 to 30-year-old age group.”

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