LAST RESORT: A photo of the home-made cage that a Rockhampton mother has built to house her ice-addicted son.
LAST RESORT: A photo of the home-made cage that a Rockhampton mother has built to house her ice-addicted son. Contributed

Woman builds cage for her ice-addicted teen son

IT IS a natural instinct to protect your children but in desperation to cope with her ice-addicted teenager, one Rockhampton mother has spent more than $3000 to build an in-house cage.

The woman said after watching her now 17-year-old son struggle with the addiction for years and finding no one to help, she didn't know what else to do.

"I am just one person begging for help and there is no one to help us," she said.

"You know your son is going to end up dead, or severely hurting himself or someone else.

"There's no first car or university for him, there is just keeping him alive."

After building the cage, which features metal bars on the doors and windows, the woman was told by police that it was an offence to lock up her son.

She said she could be charged with deprivation of liberty.

Though her son wasn't impressed with the idea of the cage, she said he had been begging for help for over a year.

He had started abusing alcohol, then marijuana, and finally methamphetamine after dealing with a series of traumatic losses within the family.

So far, the woman said, her son had attempted suicide more than a dozen times.

"I rang every rehab centre in Australia; you name them, I've rang them," she said. "They wouldn't touch (him) because he is too suicidal.

"People don't view it as being sick because it is self-inflicted, but it wouldn't be self-inflicted if he had the mental health support in the beginning."

In Queensland, there are two facilities available for drug rehabilitation of children under 17.

One is Toowoomba-based facility Teen Challenge which features a 12-month program for people aged 16 to 39, but those admitted are required to be medically detoxed before they enter.

The other, ADAWS in Brisbane, is an 11-day detox day program for 13 to 18 year olds.

Lauren Tunney from Teen Challenge said the women's centre took about eight people, while the men's took about 12.

"It fluctuates weekly, but at the moment both centres are full," she said.

"Addiction is an outcome of other underlying circumstances, so our philosophy is that it is a healing that needs to happen on a deeper level than just the addiction.

"We are non-government funded, we self-fund mainly because we are a small non-profit and there isn't a lot of funding available."

The Rockhampton woman said her son had spent time in Teen Challenge, but was first suspended for smoking and then later did not return due to the cost.

She said the price had hit about $300; over his Centrelink payment.

The mother said she was not the only one struggling, and just wanted to know where to turn.

"They're almost not your child anymore, you don't know where their heart is anymore," she said.

"It's not just my kid; there are lots of kids in Rockhampton with addictions. From bad homes and good homes, it is across the board."


If you or someone you know is struggling, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14


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