“What parent is not going to say ‘yes, I’ll sell my house’? ‘I’ll give you my kidney to save my child’s life.’ They’ll do anything.” - Addiction counsellor
Across Australia, there are parents risking everything to rescue their children from ice addiction.
“I’ve knocked on every door, I’ve been everywhere. I’ve chased my daughter for 6 months from house to house to house... I turned their water off, I turned their gas off, I pinched their power fuse. I smashed their windows, I’ve had enough.” - Father
To end this living nightmare, they’ll seize on any chance to get help for their child.
“Why now? Five bullets through the front window and I’ve sh*t myself and that was when I straight away rang mum to say I’m coming home.” - Addict
But that chance of rehabilitation can come at an enormous cost.
“Most families don’t have $30,000 sitting in the bank account just to put their child into a rehab centre. It’s just not feasible.” - Mother
Publicly funded rehabilitation beds are in short supply and have waiting lists running into months. So instead, these families turn to private clinics. And they charge a fortune.
“Most of the people I see who have come through private rehabs have had their superannuation emptied. It’s sort of a soft target.” - Financial counsellor
Parents are risking bankruptcy to get their child a place. They’re encouraged to access their superannuation or to re-mortgage their homes in order to pay out tens of thousands of dollars to ensure their child gets in quickly. And the price is driven by demand, rather than the service provided.
“I think that often people would get the success that they require by simply attending these 12-step fellowships, free of charge, and get the same success rate.” - Addiction specialist
And the lack of regulation is shocking.
“I could start a rehab up tomorrow and hire staff who aren’t suitably qualified and call it a rehab, and charge top dollar. With no questions asked.” - Addiction specialist
Even some private operators concede families risk being ripped off.
“There are way too many rogue operators in this field that can and will take advantage of people paying the money.” - Clinic operator
Rehab Inc, reported by Ben Knight and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 12th September at 8.30pm on ABC & iview. It is replayed on Tuesday 13th September at 10.00am and Wednesday 14th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.