Ice crush­ers fight back

As the ice epi­demic rages the com­mu­nity is com­ing to­gether to find so­lu­tions at a spe­cial sum­mit at Mt Druitt next week.

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Jil­lian McKee

MT DRUITT PCYC is host­ing an ice sum­mit next week in re­sponse to an alarm­ing in­crease in the use of the drug in the re­gion.

Western Syd­ney Lo­cal Area Health Dis­trict has re­vealed more than 186 peo­ple passed through emer­gency de­part­ments in Western Syd­ney last year af­fected by the drug ice.

These stag­ger­ing sta­tis­tics are show­ing no sign of slow­ing down – hav­ing more than tripled since 2013.

Health dis­trict drug health direc­tor Nghi Phung told

The Stan­dard these sta­tis­tics were a mod­est rep­re­sen­ta­tion of how ice was af­fect­ing the com­mu­nity.

“Not ev­ery­body comes through emer­gency de­part­ments; they can come through var­i­ous other lo­ca­tions too,” she said.

“A five-year trend shows a six­fold in­crease in the five years to 2013.

“On top of that, there is rea­son to be­lieve this out­pa­tient trend is likely to con­tinue.”

Mt Druitt PCYC is aim­ing to be part of the so­lu­tion to the ice epi­demic.

The re­gion’s first sum­mit will bring to­gether var­i­ous ex­perts and drug and al­co­hol sup­port or­gan­i­sa­tions, in a bid to “start a con­ver­sa­tion” with fam­i­lies af­fected by the drug.

The sum­mit is sup­ported by Good Sports project of­fi­cer Penny Mor­gan, who said it was time to fo­cus on a so­lu­tion for the com­mu­nity.

“With the fo­rum, we aim to bring to­gether not-for­profit or­gan­i­sa­tions, the com­mu­nity and sport­ing clubs to unite as a com­mu­nity,” Ms Mor­gan said.

“The big thing is there is a stigma about ice and peo­ple are scared of it,” she said.

“We aren’t stig­ma­tis­ing the drug, we are not wor­ried about the prob­lem – we are com­ing to­gether for the so­lu­tion.

“We need to get par­ents in­volved so it is sus­tain­able at home – we need to get kids re­spect­ing their mums and dads.”

Mt Druitt PCYC man­ager Lance Chaloner en­cour­aged ev­ery­one to at­tend. “A lot of par­ents and fam­i­lies feel like they are bat­tling this on their own; we are try­ing to build some struc­ture so they don’t feel iso­lated,” he said.

“There will be ex­perts to help and an­swer ques­tions peo­ple may have and can get you in­volved in sup­port ser­vices and res­o­lu­tions.”

Aus­tralian Drug Foun­da­tion spokes­woman Nikki Wool­ley said now was the time for change.

“We can no longer ar­rest our way out of the prob­lem,” Ms Wool­ley said.

“This is a com­mu­nity prob­lem need­ing a com­mu­nity so­lu­tion.”

The sum­mit will be at Mt Druitt PCYC, 453A Lux­ford Rd, Shalvey, on Wed­nes­day, May 25, from 6pm. De­tails: 9628 2628.

Po­lice, govern­ment and com­mu­ni­ties across NSW are all say­ing the same thing – we can no longer ar­rest our way out of the prob­lem. This is a com­mu­nity prob­lem which has a com­mu­nity so­lu­tion Nikki Wool­ley

Ice sum­mit or­gan­iser Penny Mor­gan said it was time to fo­cus on a so­lu­tion to the ice cri­sis. Pic­ture: Phil Rogers

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