Bayside Transformations' Tina Davie.
Bayside Transformations' Tina Davie. Alistair Brightman

EXCLUSIVE: Hervey Bay detox to open in new year

IT'S official.

The Fraser Coast will have a drug detox centre in the region as early as March next year.

The Chronicle can reveal there are plans under-way for a secular facility which will help "set up bridges" as a referral centre to mental health, private counselling or rehabilitation after patients have successfully been medically detoxed.

This means fewer patients falling through the cracks in those critical hours between city detox centres and regional rehabs and better access to medical help for local addicts and their families.

Tina Davie, CEO of the successful Bayside Transformations rehabilitation centre in Hervey Bay, is also on the committee responsible for launching the separate detox centre.

Ms Davie said a detox centre to service the region had been in the works for a long time as a natural progression to combat some of the issues affecting the community.

She's seen first hand just how detrimental distance can be in the recovering process.

"Clients to Bayside Transformations rehab need to medically detox before they come here and the closest one is in Brisbane," she said.

"Between Brisbane and here so much can happen... sometimes people get on a bus and just disappear or get out of our mini bus when we stop at a petrol station.

"A detox is going to be a perfect net to capture these people who fall through the cracks."

Ms Davie said regional areas like Hervey Bay were well-known hotspots for ice because of the ability of drug dealers and cooks to go undetected.

"I'm not saying the police aren't doing their job, they are doing a great job but just because of the spaced out nature of regional areas it gives people the ability to be undercover and still have a lot of traffic which comes through," she said.

"We have worked with people who have openly admitted to this happening.

"Certainly around here, the lower socio-economic places with high unemployment rates, there can be a feeling of no hope because they have no job prospects which is just one factor which might contribute to the high drug related deaths in regional areas as well."

Ms Davie said a detox centre would not only be a win for recovering addicts but the wider community as well.

"It will change criminal activity, change mental health, drop crime rates and put less pressure on police who detox people in the watch house," she said.

"It is not connected to Bayside Transformations but certainly that is one option to refer people to."

A recent Penington Institute report showed the rates of overdose deaths from the last year were disturbingly higher in regional areas .

Since the release of the report, Queensland's LNP has called on the Palaszczuk government to fund rehabilitation centres in regional areas and committed to building four centres including the Wide Bay if they win the next election.

Ms Davies said the committee, which includes both a doctor and mental health nurse, was in the process of looking into government funding.

"We are here for the long haul," she said.

"We have costed already how much it will be to set it up and also how much it would cost to run per year.

"A detox facility here would not only be helpful locally but as we are the only facility between Mackay and Brisbane, we can take people from there as well."