An ice-addict father who watched his 13-year-old son succumb to the deadly drug has backed calls for a Wagga rehabilitation facility.
It comes amid speculation the new, more progressive Wagga council will overturn a blanket refusal of the proposed Riverina Recovery House (RHH) on Gurwood Street.
Former Kooringal man Ben Earl was a functioning speed user – a less pure amphetamine than ice – for 13 years until he switched to ice in 2012 and “lost everything”.
“Kooringal was a very bad place to grow up and back when I was a young fella I just wanted to be like everyone else,” Mr Earl said.
“I lost my job, my house, my partner, I lost it all.
“I went into a drug and alcohol rehab on a residential street in Shoalhaven, where I cleaned myself up and I’m gradually regaining respect.
“It was the same for my son; when he was 13 and living in Kooringal he went down the wrong path and was introduced to heroin and ice.
“I got my son the help he needed and now he’s back in Wagga working and living a normal life.”
Mr Earl supported RHH developer Debbie Cox’s claims recovering drug and alcohol addicts must be housed in the heart of the city, not out on a farm nor an industrial backblock.
“Drug addicts want to isolate themselves because they’re not accepted by society,” he said.
“If (RRH) is away from a residential area then the isolation worsens.
“Seeing clean and sober people motivates you.”
The reformed ice addict claimed Wagga’s ice trade is gathering momentum.
“I know for a fact, from personal experience, dealers and exporters moving drugs from South Australia through to Queensland drop drugs destined for NSW in Wagga,” Mr Earl said.
“It all comes through here.
“Dealers sell drugs to the local addicts before moving it on to other destinations.”