News & Events


By SHAE HUSSON, winner of the 2021 WRAD Short Story Competition.

It took me less than four months to lose everything because of my addiction to methamphetamine and weed. In 2015 I had finished year 12 and moved to Warrnambool for work and potentially study. I came from a family that had so much love, support and was raised with good manners and morals. I was working three jobs, sometimes 80-hour weeks, until one day, I asked a friend to roll me a few joints as I was having trouble sleeping. Harmless right? I know people scoff about weed being a ‘gateway’ drug, but for me, it was. My drug confidence grew and the next thing I knew I was doing pills and lines of whatever on nights out. It didn’t take long to make ‘friends’ with other drug users where I then had my first try of ice and just like that, I was addicted.

During this time, I cut all contact with my family. I was so ashamed of the person I was becoming and I knew that it would hurt my family so much if they knew what I was doing. I remember my mum coming over from Portland one day, and I sat in the car telling her that I hated her because she was trying to take me to see a doctor. I was even more resistant to getting help after that day.

I loved being on drugs at the time. It was so easy. No bills to pay, no care in the world, nothing to lose, until it got serious, really serious. I became homeless, doing anything for money or some ice, or just to fill in time. I remember being so angry every time the sun rose, as another day passed where hadn’t slept. I once went 20 days with no real sleep.

I met so many people who had been or have now been in jail or suffering serious mental health issues. Late 2016 I was desperate for something to change. It was too hard to ask for help, I almost didn’t want my family to help me because I didn’t want to feel like I was losing the small amount of control I had left. I didn’t want my family to see me at half my body weight, scabby and paranoid. So, I broke into a family member’s home and stole something I thought I could get a good amount of money for so that I could continue running away from my problems.

I found out that the police wanted to talk to me, so I drove, and drove. I don’t even remember those few days, but I do remember sending my mum a love heart emoji because I thought I was going to kill myself. I can’t even begin to explain the pain that I felt. I knew I had fucked up my life. I knew there’re was no going back, that I would always have a record, always have this heavy fog following me, this sack of sorry’s to carry with me if I continued living.  Somehow, for some reason, I found my way back to Warrnambool. I got some more drugs and, for the moment, those feelings slipped away again.

I came to the conclusion that there was no point running from the police. I had nothing left to lose anyway, and at least I would be fed and have a place to stay for a while. This was the best decision I have ever made. The detective that interviewed me didn’t give me a free ride, he didn’t say that it would all be okay, he was real and he gave me a chance. He treated me like a human when I didn’t feel like I deserved it. Since then, I’ve been able to hold my head high and thank the detective for saving my life. I can only hope that I can change someone’s life like he has changed mine.

Following my interview, I had to move home with my mum, dad and younger sister. My sister who was 10 was scared of me. She was genuinely fearful of me and I hated that. I was scared of me too, waiting for the explosion of rage or the urge to steal from my family again so that I could escape for a while. I fell pregnant while I was two weeks clean and realised that I had a responsibility to this child and could never consider drugs again. I attended drug counselling, weekly urine screening, got a job, completed my community corrections order and became a single mother at 20 years old. I’m now 24 and have just recently moved out of my parent’s house, I’ve also just got an amazing job and my life could not be better.

I’m not going to lie and say that recovery is easy. It isn’t. If you have a loved one who has a drug or alcohol problem, there’s no use telling them how wrong, useless or worthless they are, because they probably already feel like that. Remind them how beautiful they are, remind them of the good times and their accomplishments before drugs. If you have a mate that is going down a bad path, be there for them, try to give them other options than going to get or use drugs, go camping, be kind. If you are struggling with addiction, take it day by day, my advice is to try and separate yourself from that social group that use drugs to start with and go from there. It’s hard to ask for help, sometimes it’s hard to give help too, but it’s the most worthwhile thing you will do.

Shae Husson. Drug free since late 2016


Our Vision & Values

WRAD HEALTH’s vision is to advance the health and wellbeing of those in the South Western Region of Victoria affected by Addictive behaviours and to promote optimal enjoyment of life.

WRAD HEALTH seeks to provide comprehensive, holistic support and treatment to individuals and others affected by addictive behaviors and associated issues.

The philosophy of harm minimisation underpins the delivery of all programs offered by WRAD HEALTH. This principle recognises that people in our society use both licit and illicit drugs, and that drugs can be used in ways that are more or less harmful to individuals, families and society. Harm minimisation offers a number of options designed to reduce the harm of drug use to the user and society.


Need After Hours Help?

Emergency call 000
For medical issues call South West Healthcare 55 631666
For mental health issues call SWH emergency dep't 55 631 666 or 1800 808 284
For drug and alcohol issues call Directline 1800 888 236
For Lifeline call 13 11 14
Or click on the links below for help.