Murray Kinnane feels like a failure.
The father of three has spent the past five years struggling to help his meth-addicted son overcome his demons, but nothing has worked.
Two weeks ago, Murray’s son Jaxon knocked his own mother out in a drug-fuelled rage. Police were called and Jaxon was charged.
He is now in custody after pleading guilty to the offence.
It’s embarrassing for Murray to have a son in jail. It’s also a massive relief.
For at least a little while, his wife and two daughters are safe.
How did it come to this?
“I don’t think anyone wakes up in the morning and says they want to be a meth addict,” Murray said.
“Maybe if I’d seen the signs, maybe this would be different.
“Maybe if the law was on my side when Jaxon was a minor.”
Jaxon started using drugs when he was 14.
Just a few years later, the kid whose father described as “popular, friendly and happy”, is a man in deep trouble.
Gone is the sporty child with a cheeky grin; in his place is a violent and erratic young man in the throes of an addiction he cannot seem to curb.
At 20, Jaxon has been in and out of rehab numerous times.
He has entered various treatment programs, but none have been able to make him stay.
Last year he was placed on life support after overdosing on benzodiazepines. Twice.
“He was a great kid,” Murray said. “We all still love him; we’re just afraid of him.”
Jaxon’s family became so scared of his behaviour his mother and two younger sisters started carrying pepper spray, and Murray installed locks on the girls’ bedroom doors.
“There have been a couple of times we’ve had to have Jaxon removed from the house,” Murray said.
“He’s become violent and threatening.
“We’ve tried tough love. We kicked him out. He came back seven days later, emaciated. He just can’t take care of himself.”
A proponent of enforced detox and rehabilitation for drug users, Murray took to Twitter just weeks ago saying there were parents of drug users “desperate for their child to commit a crime”.
“It might just save their life,” he wrote.
Within days, his own son was taken into police custody.
It happened on a Sunday evening
“He just exploded,” Murray said. “He just went off.”
A seemingly innocuous conversation in the family home about future treatment plans for Jaxon led to a violent incident on the family’s front lawn, witnessed by neighbours.
“He stomped through the house; he was swearing at us, he was just going off,” Murray said.
“He told me I could go and get f--ked - that I was the worst f--king father in the world.
“He’s told me that many times.”
Jaxon then smashed a lead-light door before walking outside.
Seeing red, Murray followed his son, telling him not to come back. This prompted Jaxon to take a swing at his father.
Murray’s wife - and Jaxon’s mum - tried to pepper spray the 20-year-old, but he “took an almighty swing” and knocked his mother out.
“She just hit the ground,” Murray said. “My daughters called the police and a neighbour had to pull me off Jaxon.
“That’s the last time we saw him.”
Murray has had no contact with his son since the assault on his wife.
At this point, he doesn’t want to see him.
“He’d have to do rehabilitation,” he said. “My son needs detox.”
Murray said as much as he hated the idea of Jaxon being in prison, he considered it the best place for him at the moment.
“I’m hopeful he will get better,” Murray says. “I’m hopeful.
“Am I confident? Not with the way the system is at the moment.”
‘We need urgent help’
There is currently no legislation in Western Australia that allows for the compulsory treatment of people with severe drug or alcohol addictions.
“In September 2016, the Mental Health Commission released a discussion paper relating to the proposed provision of a compulsory alcohol and other drug treatment service in Western Australia,” Mental Health Minister Roger Cook said.
“New South Wales currently operate a compulsory rehab program which is being evaluated by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.
“I look forward to the results of that evaluation which are due to be finalised by the end of 2018.”
This isn’t good enough for Murray.
“The biggest problem we’ve had is trying so many different places,” he said.
“Four psychiatrists have given up on him.
“Other states have enforced rehab, but try and find me a detox centre in Perth that can hold onto a person. It just doesn’t happen.”
Murray believes a six-step plan needs to be introduced by the government to address the scourge of meth addiction. The plan would include intervention and enforced abstinence, as well as medical treatment, counselling, relapse monitoring and brain scans to determine damage done.
He fears the worst for Jaxon if the current system for treating addicts doesn’t change.
Jaxon has presented numerous times at the local hospital, only to be released within hours.
He won’t stay at a residential treatment facility, and his family - who have already spent upwards of $40,000 trying to help him - are at their wits’ end.
“He’ll end up dying,” Murray said. “He can’t take care of himself. He doesn’t know how to.
“I feel like I failed. I should’ve stopped my boy from getting drugs. I let him go.
“As much as I hate him being in prison, at this point we only see it as the best thing for him.
“We haven’t given up on him, but we need urgent help.”
- Family members of drug users who need support can call Family Drug Support Australia on 1300 368 186 or in WA call 9442 5050 or 1800 653 203 for country callers.