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At-risk youth exchanging sex for ice and ending up in 'captive-like' situations, inquiry told By Phoebe Moloney and Max McKinney June 19, — One witness said detoxification services for young people in the region were "almost non-existent". Hearings held at the East Maitland Court House for the special commission of inquiry into the drug ice have focused on the impact the stimulant is having on children, adolescents and their families in the Hunter and New England region, with school principals and family service managers taking to the stand.
Only one witness, a principal of a Hunter school, had a closed hearing, while five other witnesses spoke about the nature, prevalence and impact of crystal methamphetamine and other illicit amphetamine-type stimulants ATS in the Hunter and New England region. Advertisement Loading The assistant senior counsel Sally Dowling SC flagged the commission would be hearing evidence in coming days about the effects on children of pre-natal exposure to methamphetamine - a topic the commission has not yet covered.
In her introduction Ms Dowling said that number of people over the age of 16 hospitalised for methamphetamine-related issues in the Hunter and Central Coast was above the state average and had "increased dramatically" since the to period.
Anne-Marie Connelly, the manager client services of Cessnock Community Services - part of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services - was first to speak and said that "younger and younger" people were using the drug in the region, including children as young as Over the past decade working in the Cessnock area she said the inter-generational risk of using methamphetamine and ATC had become increasing apparent.
It appears there's a higher likelihood of a young person using ice because of that inter-generational effect. Ms Connelly said that of the children who entered care in the Hunter district between July 1, , and May 31, , 59 children had parents who were impacted by the drug 'ice'. She later clarified that these were not official figures from FACS. Children using the drug became vulnerable to other risks, she said. Loading "The worst case scenarios there have been young men and women who have been seriously psychically and sexually assaulted over a period of time.