Drug gangs target CQ's regional towns as 'easy target'
AFTER exhausting efforts to help her loved one addicted to ice, Debbie Ware gave and gave until there was nothing else left.
Due to a lack of services in her hometown of Yeppoon, Debbie herself was the only means of help she knew of to desperately get her family member off the devastating drug.
Initially, Debbie believed it was peer pressure that influenced her loved one to dabble in ice, saying drug gangs hit regional towns as an "easy target".
After enduring her share of abusive threats and violence when the terrible drug had a hold on her loved one, Debbie was left heartbroken when her family member was eventually banned from returning home.
"We as a family will give until there is nothing left to give," she said.
"Unfortunately, a person on ice will take and want to keep taking even after you have nothing left to give because the drug is so overpowering to them - that is all they want."
Debbie said she "cried and cried" as she drowned in guilt and isolated herself from friends and family.
"I'd have a hot shower at night, sit down to a nice meal and hop into a clean comfortable bed, but the guilt is overwhelming ... it consumes you," she said.
When Debbie refused to leave her house and locked all her doors, she knew the guilt needed to be lifted from her life.
"Unfortunately, ice-users need to want help," she said.
"The coming-down is just too much for some.
"So if they had assistance while coming down, recovery has a higher chance."
After enduring the overwhelming sadness brought to her family by drugs, Debbie started her own self-funded support group for families of users feeling the same guilt.
Debbie's first meeting of Ice Affecting Families Capricorn Coast opened raw wounds.
"If I can help one family to understand that they are not alone in what they are going through, then it is worth it," she said.
"It's about sharing our stories with others who are, have been or just starting out on this devastating road.
"It's amazing how by just getting together and sharing our stories, we help each other."
Debbie said the lack of services and collaboration between facilities in regional areas was disappointing as "not even the services knew what each other were offering".
"Who's going to be policing the back roads and skies in the bush?" she said.
Debbie believed family members should also have a stronger say in the welfare of their drug-addicted loved ones.
"Just getting them into mental health is hard and usually at the extreme end where family have to call police and ambulance to help them," she said.