Central Queensland Rehabilitation Service opens, patients will receive local support


Kate* has just celebrated five years of recovery and knows firsthand the angst of battling ice cream addiction.

She went through drug withdrawal at home – at the time there was no rehab available in central Queensland.

“It was a long and difficult process…but it was worth it.”

For years, the community of Rockhampton has lobbied for a drug and alcohol treatment center so that patients don’t have to travel hundreds of miles to the nearest service or pass.

Now, in a first for Queensland, a facility encompassing an all-in-one pickup service, family accommodation and residential units has opened in the city.

Kate said the only support service available when she needed help was a once-a-month counseling service.

“The first time I tried it was 100 days, then I backed off and used it again.

“It’s really important that they [people who have addictions] have something nearby that, if they’re willing to take those steps, that’s there for them.”

Part of the garden and units of the Lives Lived Well facility.(ABC Capricorn: Jasmine Hines)

Kate said she has now paid off half of her family’s mortgage, a feat she says would not have been possible if she was still using ice cream.

“I would have learned the steps that come with potty training and the different ways they can go about it.”

The center “filled a gap in the map”

The new facility built by the Queensland Government is operated by the non-profit organization Lives Lived Well.

Director Mikel Gellatly said the 42-bed treatment center was “a first of its kind” for offering all three services – withdrawal care, foster care and living units – in one location.

“We support customers with this initial withdrawal period, which is often a bit difficult,” he said.

“In most residential services, customers must have gone through this withdrawal period before arriving.

“It can be difficult, especially when there are a limited number of residential withdrawal beds in the state, so having that in place is a game-changer for us.”

A woman and a man are smiling, there are buildings in the background
Narelle Beavan, residential and withdrawal nurse, with manager Mikel Gellatly.(Provided)

Mr Gellatly said that before the center opened, the closest residential clinics were in Mackay or on the Sunshine Coast.

He said the center accepts self-referrals and prioritizes patients from the Queensland center, but would consider referrals from across the state.

Mr Gellatly said half of all customers’ top concern was alcohol, followed closely by methamphetamine and then cannabis.

About 95 percent of all people who completed withdrawal unit support went on to residential treatment.

The service is named after Binbi Yadubay who comes from the traditional owners of the site, the Darumbal people.

It means “healthy beginnings”.

A living room with sofas, a dining table and a high chair for children
The facility has two three-bedroom family units so families do not have to split up to access support.(ABC Capricorn: Jasmine Hines)

Community concern caused delays

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga began campaigning for the service in 2016 after meeting with a local ice-affected family support service.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said community response to the new facility has been positive.(Facebook: Brittany Lauga)

The Queensland Government committed $14.3million to the facility in 2017, but Ms Lauga said community concerns over the planned initial location near homes had delayed operations.

“There was a lot of protest from some people in the community who were afraid of an establishment like this,” she said.

The new location is nestled on the north side of town with basketball courts, gardens and a wire circle for holistic treatment.

“Now that the facility is open, it really demonstrates that we don’t need to be afraid,” Ms Lauga said.

*Name has been changed to protect privacy.


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