View Comments
Thirty is age of reason for addicts
Picture: Supplied

A Perth drug treatment clinic that handled a record number of addicts in the past year has revealed more people aged about 30 are seeking help when they get a wake-up call.

Many suddenly face up to missing out on jobs, money and relationships because of their drug use.
The Fresh Start recovery program in Subiaco says a small shift away from people seeking treatment for heroin use has been replaced by big increases in those addicted to other drugs and alcohol, including prescription painkillers such as oxycodone.

Its annual report shows more than 1000 people1057 sought treatment in 2011-12, a 26 per cent increase on the previous year.

Chief executive Jeff Claughton said the mix of people struggling with addictions in the past year had changed, with more people wanting treatment for alcohol, amphetamine and prescription drug use.

Opiate addiction remained the biggest challenge, with heroin and prescription opioids such as oxycodone making up more than half of all cases.

“Our Fresh Start doctors, nurses and counsellors were stretched to their limit most of the time managing the obvious challenges presented by the growing numbers of patients and the types of substances being treated,” Mr Claughton said.

“We’re seeing people aged 18 to 60, while the average age we treat is 34 and people often come to us about the time they turn 30.

“When I ask people how old they are they commonly say 29 or 30 because it’s the age when people seem to suddenly wake up and think, ‘I’m turning 30 and I’m still doing this and I’ve got no money, no job, no assets and no relationships’.

“It’s a real wake-up call.”

Mr Claughton said another important factor emerging in the past year was the number of people needing housing and in-house help for their long-term recovery, with up to 40 people being housed on a regular basis.

Fresh Start expects to get an extra housing unit in January through the WA Government transitional housing and support program.