Adam’s story

Background:

Born in 1975, Adam is now aged 26. Heroin was Adam's main drug at around $50/day. He also had used dope, speed, ecstasy and trips occasionally. A likeable though easily led young man who had been a petty dealer, Adam's skills in break enter and steal and other property crimes were often never fully utilized due to the pervasive effects of hanging out.


Adam lived with his mother, stepfather and two younger half siblings. An older sister lived in a nearby town. His mother is a depressive overly-anxious woman while his stepfather is a laid-back, friendly self-confessed alcoholic who downs a 2 litre cask of red each evening.

Adam's biological father owns retail stores in Queensland and is reported to be business-focused. He and Adam had a falling out when Adam had worked for his father for about a year after leaving Year 12.

Criminal history:

An ex-client of Community Corrections and currently subject to breach proceedings, Adam was accessed for the treatment program while facing fresh charges of shoplifting and possession of cannabis. These charges were on top of a suspended sentence. He also had warrants issued in Queensland for breach of probation in that state. His ex-probation officer in NSW concluded that Adam was not suitable for this treatment program due to his poor record of compliance and the serious offences he had committed.

Assessment:

Adam was hanging-out on the day he was assessed. He was in full denial of any problems in his life (pre-contemplation stage) let alone any need to change his drug use. He was smugly lying and scamming his way through the interview.

After consultation with colleagues, it was agreed to use the leverage of the impending 8 month suspended sentence Adam faced in order to play hard-ball with him. At the end of an extensive and fruitless period of negotiation and debate during the interview Adam finally consented to a treatment plan that included detox and admission into a residential rehabilitation program. From that moment on Adam has been polite, compliant and friendly in every contact he had with this program.

Treatment:

Adam detoxed in hospital with only normal levels of discomfort. He then spent a week at home while still negotiating a rehabilitation bed. This was a risky period where he could have easily relapsed and committed more property crime to pay for it. Thankfully the worst he got up to was to be AWOL (outside of curfew) in a nearby village and smoked some cones there at a friend's house.

Agreed treatment was for 9 months at a residential centre in southern Queensland. Despite being interstate, the centre has been a valued resource service to our program since its inception.

Complications:

Unfortunately for Adam he lapsed after 3 weeks in the rehab. A new arrival tempted him with some speed and Adam put it in his coffee. They got busted and discharged. He could not re-apply to the rehab for 3 weeks.
Adam returned home and within a fortnight had been arrested for possession of ecstasy and LSD and supply of LSD (2 trips). He was remanded in custody for 3 weeks until a bed was gained for him back at the rehab centre. He was again bailed to the treatment program and taken immediately back to rehab.

Since then Adam has made considerable progress at the rehab, driving their minibus and working in the campus workshop.

Outcomes:

After 6 months on the treatment program's books, Adam was finally graduated. The day after his treatment program graduation in a NSW Local Court he appeared in a QLD Local Court where he was given a $150 fine and bailed to continue in rehab at the residential facility. Although he has graduated from the treatment program, his NSW court matters have been adjourned to when he is due to complete stage 3 at the rehab facility. It is then expected that he will complete the usual 12 weeks at that facility's halfway house. All up, Adam will have spent 12 months on this rehabilitation journey. A journey that, without the patient support of his family, he would probably not have succeeded in.

Manager Treatment Program
North Coast (NSW)
May 2001