father daughter

Father’s day: I have my daughter back

Articles, Understanding Addiction
Today, on Father’s Day, we’re sharing an email we received from one of our client’s dads. He wanted to share his experience, from his own unique perspective. Making the good point that much of the time it’s the family members who do the research, find the rehab and even pay for treatment. He hopes by sharing his experience, it helps other people. 

We had no idea 

We live in an Australian country town which is where our nightmare started 4 years ago. Up until it did our daughter Sharon* then, at 30 years old, had been a fully employed caring person. 
At that time we noticed her decline but assumed it was an issue with depression and anxiety so we encouraged her to see her doctor who then referred her to a psychologist.
The psychologist visits did not seem to help. We were still under the impression that it was an anxiety issue.
So, now over a year or two had passed and we had made no headway along with her increasing mood swings, damaging her vehicle and missing money from our home.
The group of people she was associating with were not of a good nature so we believed her actions were due to the company she kept. We were still totally in the dark.

“Totally in the dark” about our daughter’s addiction.


Confronting the truth

A person we knew quite innocently asked about Sharon’s crystal meth addiction. She told us her nephew showed the same symptoms and wanted to know how we were coping.
We were stunned. But, once we were confronted by the words, things started to fall into place.
At home we confronted Sharon and she replied she was using meth was, but ‘it was not a problem’ and she ‘was not an addict’.
We were shocked. We were aware of a local meth problem in what is now endemic in all areas but assumed that this had been addressed by her doctor and the psychologist.
However, can you believe that despite the help we had been seeking, at no point in the last two years had a doctor or psychologist suggested a drug test?

Desperately seeking help

We encouraged Sharon to move back home. My wife and I sought help from government addiction services, but this proved to be futile. We were at a loss and totally out of our depth.

By this point, she had been stealing from us for over 2 years. We were up at night every night worried she would drive on drugs and hurt herself or somebody else.

There comes a time when a decision you have to make is the last thing you ever wanted to do but it had to be done. I told Sharon she had to go and I would not have any contact with her from this point on.

Days went by and in her absence, we researched and believed that a 24/7 situation away from here would be the best for her if she would agree.

It took two weeks – that felt like a lifetime. But, she asked to come home. She admitted her addiction and she wanted treatment. 

Asking DARA Rehab for help

We contacted DARA Rehab and spoke to Martin who was the first helpful person and who fully understood Sharon’s problems and needs.

We spoke to Sharon and she agreed to go to DARA Rehab for 3 months. Once the decision was made, they made it possible to get her there very quickly.

She spoke to us daily on Skype informing us of how much she is enjoying getting her life back and how well she was doing.

We also spoke to Martin who made himself readily available in regards to Sharon’s progress. 

Are Strict Australian Laws Encouraging Alcoholism?

Leaving rehab

At the end of the 3 months, my wife and I went to DARA Rehab to discuss any ongoing concerns and to bring

Sharon home. Sharon came home as the person she always used to be we were all very happy, her determination

to succeed was back and she was determined to move forward.

After treatment, she kept in touch with DARA Rehab once a week. These regular talks with her psychologist settled her back into normal life.

She also kept in touch with the friends she made at DARA Rehab. Sharon joined and attended regular NA meetings. The support system was working and we were getting our daughter back.

Recovery is ongoing

Months went by since Sharon had returned home from rehab and things were looking so positive.
My wife and I had plans for a 3-week interstate trip. We all thought things would be fine but we still kept in touch every day while we were gone.
Right before we returned home we noticed a change in her and we were worried, but not convinced there was a problem. Unfortunately, on our arrival home we found a sorry Sharon we suspected she had slipped and had taken Crystal meth on the Saturday before our arrival home on Monday.
Sharon owned up to her slip and was very ashamed. Not only were we devastated, but she was also in a state of despair that she had not only let us down but herself by being 1 month away from a year drug-free. We were at a loss as to what we could do and the possible ongoing effects of this slip.

Ongoing support on the phone

I rang Martin, from DARA Rehab, straight away and we discussed her circumstances and a way to move forward. 
Martin had told us that after Sharon left DARA Rehab we could still contact him, and he was true to his word. He gave us advice and reassurance and helped us move forward as a family.

I can happily say that Sharon is back on track and moving forward. Sharon is now working full time and her slip is well behind her.

We are thankful for the understanding and help we received from DARA Rehab and hope that you can start on the journey that will bring your loved one home.


Two thankful parents

New Zealand Drug Market for Meth and Cocaine Striving

New Zealand Drug Market for Meth and Cocaine is Thriving

Alternative Treatment, Articles, Australia, Education, International, Treatment, Understanding Addiction

New Zealand Drug Market for Meth and Cocaine Thriving

New Zealand is a beautiful place filled with natural and man-made marvels that can be a delight to behold. However, a sinister shadow has been recently cast over New Zealand. According to the US DEA drug enforcement agency, the New Zealand drug market has become the number one hot spot in the world for both meth and cocaine.

Why the New Zealand Drug Market?

It may seem odd that New Zealand is a hub for the drug industry, but this has a great deal to do with money. Drug sales, the money to be made from sales, have gained the attention of the major cartels in the world. Specifically, the Sinaloa Cartel seems to be targeting the New Zealand borders for drug trade and sales. One bust in particular found 110 kilos of methamphetamines being smuggled into the area in golf cart batteries.

As mentioned, money is a big motivator and New Zealanders pay the price for party drugs. As of 2018, Kiwis paid an average of $360 for a single gram of cocaine. This is about four times what those in America said they paid for the same amount. This is in part due to the smaller population of the area, but strict border control also raises the price. This also drives the rates of meth use as it can be created from items that are easier to obtain in the country. However, for those wanting cocaine, it can be tough and expensive to come by without any assurance that what is sold is safe or pure.

Cocaine Use

While meth may be growing in popularity, cocaine is still a favorite of users in New Zealand. Unfortunately, neither are safe for short or long term use. While cocaine addiction may not be as instantaneous as meth addiction, it can still happen quickly. This is because both have related short term effects that include:

  • Energy
  • Euphoria
  • Extreme sensitivity to sound, touch, and sights
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Decreased appetite

Someone who is energetic, does not need to eat or sleep, and can seemingly feel things deeply, will not want to stop. The same is true of meth, however, cocaine is a fast acting short term high where as meth tends to stay in the system longer with stronger effects over time.

Long Term Effects of Cocaine and Meth

While the short term effects are not necessarily horrible, the long term effects can be both permanent and deadly. These include:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Heart attack, disease, or stroke
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Psychological and mood issues
  • Lung damage
  • HIV and Hepatitis (from sharing or reusing needles)
  • Bowel decay
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Loss of smell
  • Nosebleeds (from snorting)

Drug Use

Both meth and cocaine can be snorted, smoked, or injected. While all forms are dangerous, injected either substance puts the user at higher risk. This is especially true for those that share needles as infections are easily passed through the needle. Injection sites can also get infected and cause problems throughout the body that are not easily treated, even if the user does seek treatment. Those using meth are more likely to pick at the skin which spreads the infection further.

Seeking Treatment

New Zealand Drug Market for Meth and Cocaine Striving

Though New Zealand has far from cornered the market for cocaine and methamphetamine purchases or production, there is still a need for proper treatment for those who are addicted. DARA offers an excellent resource for those with any type of addiction. The best part is there are several facilities within Australia. These are located in Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland, and Melbourne.

DARA’s Treatment

DARA is unique in that each individual who enters the in-patient facility is given an individualized treatment plan. While the overall treatment is the same for everyone, the specifics are designed to help each addict in the way they most need.


This is accomplished with a focus on the mind, body, and spirit for each patient in the affordable, resort style facility. For the mind, the use of cognitive behavioral therapy in group and individual settings. Cognitive behavioral therapy, most often called CBT, helps individuals to trace their thinking to behaviors and feelings. Knowing how certain thoughts lead to specific actions can help an individual break the thought pattern. These are patterns that are often involved in addiction. This is also helpful once a person goes back to their real life as triggers will come up and need to be avoided or the thought patterns around them altered to a healthier action.

DARA can help each individual identify their triggers and thought patterns to lead a healthier life after rehab. To further help heal the mind, DARA offers education classes about addiction so that the basic principles are better understood by the user.


As for the spirit, religion is not a part of the DARA rehab program, but time spent in meditation and relaxation is included. Time is set aside daily to simply relax and consider a new life outside of the rehab facility. Learning to relax is an important skill as once the time at rehab has ended, stressful events often lead to relapse. Practicing these techniques can be one way to prevent relapse in the future.


DARA makes physical wellness a priority as well. This comes in different forms that include a personal trainer for each patient and massages that are offered three times a week. Additionally, personalized times of recreation and proper nutrition are provided as a way to help the body heal from the inside out. Addiction tends to take precedence over self-care for the addict. This means the body suffers. This can be extreme with cocaine and meth use in any form. DARA seeks to help rebuild the body so it can continue to heal itself following a rehab stay.

Contact DARA

CLICK HERE to get a free confidential addiction rehabilitation assessment. Alternatively, you can click on the live chat icon to chat with someone now.

Heavy Drug Use Prevailing in Pacific Nations

Heavy Drug Use Prevailing in Pacific Nations

Alternative Treatment, Articles, Australia, Education, International, Treatment, Understanding Addiction

Heavy Drug Use Prevailing in Pacific Nations

The heavy drug use in the areas of Australia and New Zealand is affecting the smaller Pacific Nations negatively. As drug traffickers transport through the area to reach others that pay high prices for illegal substances like cocaine, an increase in addiction, corruption, and violence has been noted.

Drug Trafficking

Addiction creates drug trafficking and drug trafficking creates and adds to addiction. This is a vicious cycle that is being seen played out in the Pacific Nations that include areas like Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji. These areas were not known for drug use, but now a domestic market has developed because of transport through the areas. Many believe the people of these areas are victims of Australian drug use as the areas are caught between. While changes have been made to increase patrols in that area, the Pacific Islands feel that they are merely a shield, not being offered real help.

Cocaine Explosion

Using the Pacific Island area as a route between the US and Latin America to Australia. This is an unfortunate route for methamphetamines and cocaine which go for higher prices in these areas due to demand. As a main route, the Pacific Islands then end up with access which has grown their drug addiction and created violence in the area. The Islands, which are most associated with a vacation spot, are becoming narcotic hubs. This is because these islands are being used for storage for large amounts of narcotics. This is typically underwater or in ships that are passing through, but as crashes occur or nets break, the drugs wash ashore in large amounts.

Cocaine and Methamphetamines

Two of the most commonly shipped illegal substances to Australia are cocaine and methamphetamine. Cocaine is a stimulant drug that is powerfully addictive. Made from the coca leaves that were once chewed for the stimulant effect, current day street cocaine is a fine white powder, but is often cut with cornstarch, talcum powder, procaine, or even amphetamines. This increases profits for dealers, but makes the drug unsafe to use.

Methamphetamines are also highly addictive and come in crystal form that easily dissolves in water or alcohol so that it can be injected. Methamphetamines also create a happy, excitable effect, but more gets into the brain when compared to amphetamines. While medical uses are available for both cocaine and methamphetamines, the use is rare and highly regulated.

Recognizing Use

Recognizing the use of cocaine or methamphetamines may seem simple, but for those unfamiliar with the drugs the signs could be missed. Some of the most common are shared below:


  • Excitability
  • Dilated pupils
  • Weight loss
  • Mood swings
  • Socially isolated
  • Nosebleeds
  • Risky behaviors and choices
  • Poor hygiene
  • Financial difficulties


  • Hyperactivity
  • Twitching
  • Dilated pupils
  • Skin sores
  • Weight loss
  • Burns (lips and fingers)
  • Mood Swings
  • Rotting teeth

As you can see, many of the warning signs are the same for both addiction types caused by heavy drug use. Whether a loved one is addicted to meth or cocaine, the need for help is real. The type of help needed is also available at DARA.

Professional Help

Heavy Drug Use Prevailing in Pacific Nations

Getting professional help for a drug addiction can be intimidating. This is not only due to price, though cost is a factor, but because it can be embarrassing to ask for help or even admit that a problem exists. Drug addictions caused by heavy drug use are often well hidden until a person has reached a very low point in life. Some people will seek help on their own, but others may need to hear from family and friends that help is needed. While an intervention may not be the way to go, setting clear boundaries are a must so that addiction does not spread through a family. If you or a loved one needs professional help then go with the affordable, luxury accommodations at DARA.

DARA Facilities

DARA is an in-patient rehab facility that helps with addictions of all types. With locations in Australia and other countries, DARA can work with those who have an addiction to start on the road to long term sobriety from drugs or alcohol, as well as other addictions. Specific to Australia, DARA has locations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Auckland. With the location close to the Pacific Islands, yet away from the area in which the person is using drugs, DARA is the perfect option.

DARA is unique in its approach with the use of several areas that include education, relaxation, physical wellness, nutrition, and CBT treatments. Each aspect is helpful in teaching the addict to live a drug free life long term. CBT is a form of therapy that helps an individual identify specific behaviors and then the thoughts, feelings, and actions that make up those behaviors. Once these are identified, a change in the thought process can lead to changes in life. This can be helpful in identifying triggers that may be problematic when the in-patient stay is complete. Knowing one’s triggers means being able to plan ahead to deal with them or avoid them completely.

Physical Wellness

Many people and facilities overlook the importance of physical wellness as part of addiction treatment. Physical wellness and hygiene are often ignored by addicts so the body suffers as more drugs are ingested. The body further suffers through detox. This is why physical wellness activities and proper nutrition are a big part of DARA’s treatment. Top chefs from the area prepare daily meals and physical activities are required with many options available. Go for a morning swim, spend time with a personal trainer and help your body heal from the inside out. Time will also be spent in meditation and doing relaxation exercises throughout the 6 to12 week program. Furthermore, three weekly massages are included as part of the rehabilitation process. This can help the body relax and allow for toxins to be released.

The key to the success of DARA centers is the combination of these treatments and some time away from people and places in which drugs or alcohol are present. If you or a loved one is suffering with an addiction, call DARA to gain further information or set up a stay.

CLICK HERE to get a free confidential addiction rehabilitation assessment. Alternatively, you can click on the live chat icon to chat with someone now.

Australia Has a Serious Addiction Problem

Australia Has a Serious Addiction Problem

Alternative Treatment, Articles, Australia, Education, International, Treatment, Understanding Addiction

Australia Has a Serious Addiction Problem

Addiction is defined as the act of being addicted to a specific substance or behavior. In psychology, addiction is defined as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.” (American Society of Addiction Medicine, 2018). This is further characterized by an inability to abstain with consistency from the substance or behavior. Without treatment and recovery activities, addiction is a serious problem that is progressive and can lead to disability or death.

Addiction in Australia

For Australia, the addiction problem is one of the country’s greatest issues. There are literal millions of Australians and their families that are struggling with a wide range of issues related to substance abuse and use. Unfortunately, for many, they do not receive treatment. There are always challenges to treatment, but it is available. This will be discussed at the end of this post.


For Australia, alcohol is one of the greatest dangers. In fact, nearly 6,000 people die each year from alcohol related incidents. That averages one person every 90 minutes each day. Too often, people overlook the dangers of drinking because it is legal, but alcohol is just as dangerous and addictive as illegal drugs or illicit drug use.

Alcohol can inhibit decision making abilities and puts great strain on the body, yet it is culturally acceptable. Even binge drinking has become a popular pastime for many. This can lead to a lifelong dependence. In Australia, binge drinking is defined as 6 drinks in two hours for men and four for women.

Illegal Drugs

Australia also has an issue with illegal drug use given the relatively small population size. Though marijuana is still the most commonly used drug, ecstasy, hallucinogens, and amphetamines are also popular. Close to three million people have tried ecstasy and that does not include the other drugs that fall into the hallucinogen or amphetamine categories.

The problem is that many people see overcoming addiction as something that requires only willpower. The truth is that overcoming addiction takes much more than willpower to overcome and stay clean long term. Addiction is actually a biological response by the body. For some drugs and individuals, a single use will leave the body craving more.

Prescription Drugs

Though legal, it is possible to become addicted to prescription drugs or to use them in an illegal manner. This is a problem in Australia. One study showed that as of 2017, doctors in Australia were writing 14 million opioid painkiller prescriptions annually. While this may not seem like a bad thing, about a tenth of people who take opioid painkillers, will become addiction or dependent. This translates to 1.4 million people in Australia alone who are addicted to pain killers. The saddest part is the prescriptions likely started as a real need for pain relief. While this is not true for all as some people doctor shop to gain access to these drugs, many had a real need.

People tend to underestimate the danger of opioid prescriptions because they come from a doctor for a real need. Just because something is medically useful, does not ensure safety. In 2015 it was found that well over half of drug related deaths in Australia were due to prescription opioids.

What to Do

With temptation running rampant in Australia, it can be tough to abstain. This is especially true when the drug of choice is a prescription or legal, such as alcohol. Some may even see minor drugs such as marijuana as harmless, even though it is illegal. This can easily lead to addiction and the issues that arise with an addiction.

Some may feel that the best way to escape addiction is to simply stay away. While an environmental change can be helpful, professional help is often required. That is where an in-patient facility can be greatly beneficial.

Seeking Help at DARA

If you or a loved one is suffering with an addiction of any type, consider DARA as an option for help. DARA is one of the top in-patient rehab facilities in the area with multiple locations in Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland, Sydney, and others.

On average, a stay at DARA lasts between 6 and 12 weeks to help face the addiction issues in your life. DARA provides a luxury, resort style facility with amenities that will help you heal and be comfortable at affordable rates. Whether you are drawn purely by the need for help, the rates, or the beautiful views, DARA can provide you with the best. Each and every patient receives treatment that includes physical, spiritual, and mental aspects to get a good start on the road to recovery.

DARA Treatments

Australia Has a Serious Addiction Problem

DARA focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy, also called CBT. CBT is a form of therapy that helps an individual identify specific behaviors and then the thoughts, feelings, and actions that make up those behaviors. Once these are identified, a change in the thought process can lead to changes in life.

In addition to CBT, DARA uses physical activity and nutrition to help each patient heal from the inside out. A part of most addictions is a lack of self-care. This lack of self-care can lead to vitamin deficiencies poor eating, and lack of exercise. At DARA, top chefs in the area prepare daily meals and some form of physical activity is required each day. Activities such as swimming, yoga, and time in the gym are likely options. As the mind heals from the addiction, the body can begin to heal as well.

There are also weekly times of meditation and massages are offered three times a week for every patient. These are designed to both help patients relax and to release toxins from the body that have built up from drug and/or alcohol use and abuse. An additional education component about addiction is included to help individuals understand how addiction develops and continues.

The key to the success of DARA centers is the combination of these treatments and some time away from people and places in which drugs or alcohol are present. If you or a loved one is suffering with an addiction, call DARA to gain further information or set up a stay.

Contact DARA

CLICK HERE to get a free confidential addiction rehabilitation assessment. Alternatively, you can click on the live chat icon to chat with someone now.

Who Uses Illicit Drugs in Australia?

Who Uses Illicit Drugs in Australia?

Alternative Treatment, Articles, Australia, Education, International, Treatment, Understanding Addiction

Illicit Drugs User Study in Australia

A study in Australia recently found that almost half of all Australians, 43% that are aged 14 and over, have used illicit drugs at least once in their lives. Of those same people, 16% have used illicit drugs at least once in the last year. In that 16% of the population, 75% have used between 1 and 11 times. This is considered infrequent use. The most commonly used or tried drugs are, in order, cannabis, ecstasy, hallucinogens, cocaine, and finally methamphetamine. Inhalants and heroine were also used, but at lower rates of less than 5 percent.

Age Differences

With nearly half the population admitting to use at some point, it may be interesting to know what age groups were the heaviest illicit drugs users. The study discovered this information for readers. It was found that the highest rate of lifetime use fell to 30-39 year old group right at 55% and closely followed by 40-49 year old group, just under 55 percent. This was followed by the 20-29 year old age group at 49% and 50-59 year old age group at 48 percent. However, in the past year the numbers have dropped significantly after age 30 to only 18 percent for lifetime use.

This shows that most people only use for a short period of time, typically in their twenties. This could be because as they age, more responsibility requires them to stop and function as adults without the use of drugs. However, in all age groups, rates of lifetime and recent use are higher for men.

Educational Differences

Though it is often assumed that those who are educated and employed are less likely to have ever been involved in drugs in any way, this is not the case. People with a post school qualification tend to have a higher lifetime rate of drug use over those without qualifications, 47 and 34% respectively. Furthermore, people in the paid workforce are also at a higher rate of lifetime use over those who are unemployed by about 8 percent. This may be due to the availability of disposable income.

Those who have used and are employed are much more likely to use cannabis over other options. Socioeconomic status does not seem to affect drug use over a lifetime, but those of lower socioeconomic advantage are more likely to continue use over time.

Assessing Illicit Drug Use

Even though drug use can start at any age, the early it starts, the more likely someone is to become addicted. This is true of nearly every illegal substance. This goes beyond experimenting with drugs to a true, physical problem. However, there are some drugs, such as methamphetamines, that only require one use in order for an addiction to develop. With that in mind, it is always best to know the signs of addiction so if they are present help can be sought for you or a loved one.

Defining Addiction

Before you can look for the signs of addiction, you must be able to define addiction. An addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain’s reward system, motivation, and memory abilities. Someone with an addiction will crave the drug of choice.

General Signs of Addiction

There are a few overreaching, general signs of addiction that include:

  • Lack of control over the substance
  • Decreased socialization
  • Ignoring risk factors associated with use (sharing needles)
  • Physical symptoms (side effects, withdrawal symptoms, tolerance)

These can increase in intensity depending on the length of time a user has been using or the substance used.

Initial Signs of Addiction

Initial signs of addiction may also be called red flags or warning signs, and include:

  • Experimentation
  • Family history (those with close relatives who use are more likely to use)
  • Being drawn to a particular substance
  • Seeking substance rich activities
  • Binging episodes with the substance (often without memory of the event)

These can sometimes be difficult to identify, but overtime they will become evident and obvious.

Personality Changes

Often, some of the first signs that are noticed are those of personality changes. These are beyond changes in teenagers who are discovering their own personality in the world and move into blatant, out of character changes over time. These can include:

  • Increased secrecy (requiring privacy)
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities that were once important
  • Sleep pattern changes
  • Ignoring negative consequences of actions repeatedly
  • Neglecting relationships and obligations (friends, family, school, work)
  • Risk taking (especially to support the habit)

Health Changes

Drugs can also create physical and mental health issues that are often obvious. Health changes to watch for include:

  • Bloodshot, glazed, or eyes that are enlarged or dilated without cause
  • Speech changes (slurring, rambling)
  • Constant health issues (colds, runny nose, headaches)
  • Changes in weight (loss or gain quickly)
  • Poor skin, hair, teeth, or nails (poor hygiene in general)
  • Memory issues
  • Withdrawal when no drugs are available (sweating, shaking, vomiting)

Seeking Help

Who Uses Illicit Drugs in Australia?

If these describe you or a loved one, then it is time to seek professional help. DARA offers quality, affordable, resort style in-patient treatment at various locations throughout Australia. DARA treats each patient with an individualized plan to heal the mind, body, and spirit. This is accomplished through the use of cognitive behavioral therapy, physical wellness, nutrition, and education. CBT is used in both group and individual therapy sessions designed to help addicts share and understand their addiction. Physical wellness is provided through a personal trainer, access to a gym and pool, as well as structured group activities. Nutrition is prepared by top area chefs to meet the nutritional requirements of patients so the body can heal from the inside as well as the outside. Special times for meditation, massage, and relaxation are also included. If you need help battling addiction, DARA is a definite top choice.

Call Right Away

CLICK HERE to get a free confidential addiction rehabilitation assessment. Alternatively, you can click on the live chat icon to chat with someone now.