Pilbara reels from scourge of methamphetamines
When Alfred Barker was a teenager, his uncle was fatally struck by a car while wandering drunk through the streets of Port Hedland.
In his grief Mr Barker wanted to be useful, so he helped renovate an abandoned house in the West Australian iron-ore town and turned it into a sobering-up shelter. The cottage in Edgar Street became a safe place where Aboriginal people knew they could go to sleep, eat and pull themselves together.
Times have changed. Mr Barker says the scourge of methamphetamines in the Pilbara is wreaking new havoc on the lives of young Aboriginal people, and in ways no shelter can hope to ameliorate.
“You can’t build a shelter from those drugs, no shelter from that stuff,” he said. “They go downhill quick on that.”