Lo­cal help cru­cial in ice scourge

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRIS MCMA­HON chris. mcma­hon@ news. com. au

THE na­tional ice task­force has re­leased its in­terim re­port into how to tackle the drug grip­ping users across the na­tion.

The task­force held a num­ber of fo­rums around the coun­try, in­clud­ing a vo­cal and frus­trated crowd of Townsville res­i­dents.

From those fo­rums, the task­force iden­ti­fied six chal­lenges in­clud­ing fo­cus­ing law en­force­ment ac­tions, tar­get­ing pri­mary preven­tion, im­prov­ing ac­cess to early in­ter­ven­tion, treat­ment and sup­port ser­vices, sup­port­ing lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to re­spond, im­prov­ing tools for front­line work­ers, and im­prov­ing and con­sol­i­dat­ing re­search and data.

Mem­ber of the task­force and JCU Pro­fes­sor Richard Mur­ray said the in­terim re­port would be used to de­velop a na­tional strat­egy to fight the ice scourge.

“There are some par­tic­u­lar chal­lenges, which this re­port has picked up – the par­tic­u­lar im­pli­ca­tions about how we go about preven­tion is recog­nis­ing that lo­cal is ev­ery­thing,” Prof Mur­ray said.

“Ul­ti­mately, who

peo­ple con­tact if they are wor­ried about a fam­ily mem­ber or friend and how they get ac­cess to sup­port and ad­vice ... clearly you need to be do­ing a lot more lo­cally.

“The re­sources and who you can turn to def­i­nitely needs to be more lo­calised.”

Pro­fes­sor Mur­ray said the fi­nal re­port should be tabled at the end of the year, with strate­gies be­ing rolled out through­out next year.

“The em­pha­sis of the re­port will be on how do gov­ern­ments, lo­cal, state and fed­eral to­gether, en­able lo­cal re­sponses and any mea­sures taken are likely to be along those lines.

“Usu­ally there will be bud­get cy­cles and things that will re­sult in the an­nounce­ments on what gov­ern­ments will do, in a sense a lot of the mes­sages that came across around the coun­try were it’s not a ques­tion of money, rather mak­ing sure things ac­tu­ally work to­gether.”

Herbert MP Ewen Jones said it was pleas­ing to see the wheels in mo­tion on the is­sue.

“Our com­mu­nity has al­ready demon­strated it’s se­ri­ous about find­ing lo­cal so­lu­tions and has taken the proac­tive ap­proach of es­tab­lish­ing a lo­cal Ice Task­force Group,” Mr Jones said.

“It’s clear the prob­lem of ice is im­pact­ing in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies in our city and that’s a real con­cern.

“From the dis­cus­sions had in Townsville, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and fa­cil­i­ties to house those ser­vices will be vi­tal,” he said.

“There is still a lot of work to be done.”

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