Drug addict sings praises of Buttery's rehab help

WHEN Owen O'Neil woke up in hospital after nearly losing a leg, a legacy of his drug addiction, he saw his mother and sister crying by his bedside.

Until then he had managed to live a relatively normal life with his years of ice and heroin use and did not really consider giving it up.

The sight of the pain he caused his family, however, finally prompted the 34-year-old opera singer to make his first serious attempt to go clean.

“I spent most of 2006 trying to stop but I found it really difficult,” he said. “I know a lot of people who had been to The Buttery and who were still clean 15 years later. It was the only rehab that I never heard a negative thing about.”

Mr O'Neil spent seven months there last year and has stayed on in the region trying to build on his basis for recovery.

The Buttery Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre at Binna Burra has been quietly helping addicts for many years, but the demand for its services means a new centre needs to be built to help more recovering addicts.

The ABC's Australian Story  recently focused on Hoodoo Gurus bass guitarist Rick Grossman's heroin addiction and recovery at The Buttery in the 1980s.

And a CD collaboration organised by the musician to raise money for the Buttery has been launched in Sydney.

Caution: Life Ahead! Artists for Recovery is a double CD featuring some rare tracks from Australia's best musicians including Neil Finn, Jimmy Barnes, Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, You Am I, Pete Murray, Powderfinger and others.

“The reason behind all of this is that hopefully someone who is seeking a way out of addiction has the option get to The Buttery and be given a second chance,” Rick Grossman said.

“It's also important to raise the profile of The Buttery and similar centres. They are there to help, but they also need help themselves. The sale of every CD will deliver funds to The Buttery to provide support to those who most need it.”

With up to a five-month waiting list and only 30 places available, resources and beds at The Buttery are stretched beyond capacity.

Money raised from the sale of the CD will go towards the building of a new Buttery centre which will double the facilities available, and make it possible to treat more people who urgently need their assistance.

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