DRUG SCANDAL: Seven students left the school as following an investigation.
DRUG SCANDAL: Seven students left the school as following an investigation. Luka Kauzlaric

40 students implicated in Coast school's drug scandal

A PROMINENT Sunshine Coast private school has been rocked by a drug scandal with as many as 40 students interviewed as part of a police investigation.

Caloundra's Unity College principal, Greg Myers, has confirmed seven children left the school as a result of the "investigation and discussions".

The investigation was unravelled in June, in the last few weeks of term two.

Mr Myers said there "were a number of Unity College students involved in the use of illegal drugs".

"The College investigated the matter and referred it onto the Queensland Police," he said.

"The College has at all times co-operated fully with the police in this matter.

"As a result of the investigation and discussions with parents, seven families chose to seek alternate schools for their children.

"The College will continue to take appropriate action in response to the use of illegal drugs."

The type of drug involved was not revealed.

Mr Myers said the college had a "positive well-being education program for all students, focussing on making positive choices".

"Part of this program includes education around the issues of illegal drugs."

Are drugs a problem in Sunshine Coast schools?

This poll ended on 22 November 2016.

Current Results

Yes, but they are in all schools in Australia


Definitely, drug usage in schools in widespread on the Coast


No more than anywhere else


Do, definitely not


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.


The problem of illegal drug use, specifically marijuana, might be far more widespread across the Sunshine Coast.

GP and Australian Medical Association of Queensland member Dr Wayne Herdy said as many as 40% of high school students were believed to have tried marijuana.

"The number that use it regularly is half that," he said.

He said the number of students using ice was a "totally different story, but much less than that".

"Ice consumption on the Sunshine Coast is very high," he said.

"In my personal experience, I haven't seen high school kids using ice.

"Marijuana consumption (is) astonishingly high among high students."

He said while some stole marijuana from their parents, the modern day child "has a lot of pocket money".

"If you want to buy something relatively low scale, like marijuana, it is extremely easy to buy on the streets of the Sunshine Coast."

There was also a chronic shortage of rehabilitation facilities to help those struggling with drug use.

"There is a private rehab facility in Gympie that is very expensive," Dr Herdy said.


Dr Wayne Herdy profile shots for story for Sunday paper.
Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily
Dr Wayne Herdy. Warren Lynam

"There is also a treatment centre in Caloundra, which is private-hospital based.

"And there is the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) service in Nambour, but it has a very long waiting list.

"Four or five GPs on the Sunshiny Coast also have an interest in addiction."

Dr Herdy said the use of ice had "escalated astronomically" and it caused people to become "quite psychotic".


Dr Herdy said parents concerned their child might be using marijuana should look for the following symptoms

  • Change in behaviour, change of socialisation, declining academic performance
  • Increasing lethargy
  • In the case of ice use, look for more bizarre, anti-social behaviour.


Knowing whom to go to for help if you suspect your child may be using drugs can be tricky.

Going to police could end up with your child arrested. School counsellors also have a legal obligation to report suspected drug involvement.

Dr Herdy suggested a person contact ATOD, which could advise of a GP identified as having an interest in addiction medicine.