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Drug rehab pledge

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March 09, 2018

Teen addicts will be forced into a secure, $30million drug rehabilitation centre if the Liberal-National Coalition wins government at the Victorian election.

Teen addicts will be forced into a secure, $30million drug rehabilitation centre if the Liberal-National Coalition wins government at the Victorian election.

The state Opposition is planning the 36-bed drug and alcohol centre so troubled youths aged 15 to 17 get mandatory treatment if their offending is a result of drug abuse.

A new Youth Therapeutic Order will be created so the children’s court can send the teens in the justice or child protection systems to treatment.

‘‘This is a policy about tough love, but it’s a policy that gives kids a second chance,’’ Opposition leader Matthew Guy said.

The facility will cost about $20million a year to operate when up and running, with 60 youths tracking through it a year, doing stints between four and six months on average.

The system will be based on a model developed by Children’s Court Magistrate Jennifer Bowles and includes clinical assessment for suitability if other voluntary treatment options are unsuccessful.

Opposition health spokeswoman Mary Wooldridge said the funding would also include supports for when the youths left the secure facility, including transition accommodation.

‘‘Breaking the cycle early before it escalates is crucial,’’ she said.

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