Meth help ex­pands re­gional reach

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - War­ren Hately Ice­break­ers sup­port worker Jacque­line Nos­siter and co-or­di­na­tor Adam Lange. What do you think? Email let­ters to us at ed­i­[email protected]­r­

A com­mu­nity-run group from Bun­bury tack­ling the South West’s metham­phetamine cri­sis is set to ex­tend its reach to help Mar­garet River res­i­dents.

Bun­bury’s Ice­break­ers group has al­ready at­tended one lo­cal com­mu­nity fo­rum where res­i­dents and fam­i­lies af­fected by ice ad­dic­tion shared their strug­gles, but the Ice­break­ers will be more fre­quent vis­i­tors, with a vol­un­teer day planned for Wed­nes­day, and $1000 in fund­ing from the Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River.

Ice­break­ers co-or­di­na­tor and for­mer ad­dict Adam Lange told the Times Mar­garet River had the same metham­phetamine prob­lems as many other smaller re­gional towns.

“There are peo­ple down there who are suf­fer­ing and fam­i­lies as well,” he said. “Peo­ple in ru­ral towns seem to be get­ting hit the hard­est, per­haps be­cause of un­em­ploy­ment.

“It’s a very hard drug to get away from.

“You’ve not only got to fight the ad­dic­tion, but also walk away from the life­style.” Mr Lange said “it only takes one ad­dict” be­fore metham­phetamine con­sump­tion spread to oth­ers in small com­mu­ni­ties.

Capes res­i­dents who did not want to be named said there was a lot of shame and anx­i­ety sur- round­ing ice abuse. There were sev­eral deaths in the Capes re­gion this year tied to ice abuse, and fam­i­lies had also split up, or be­come em­broiled in dis­putes between ad­dicted mem­bers.

One woman said metham­phetamine was in­creas­ingly the party drug of choice be­cause it let young peo­ple drink more heav­ily dur­ing their week­ends.

“The peo­ple who are turn­ing to the drug just don’t un­der­stand how ad­dic­tive it is,” she said.

Mr Lange said ice was the hard­est of the drugs he had quit, and ca­sual users were eas­ily hooked.

“It also clears through your sys­tem fairly quickly and then you can get a drug test a few days later and it won’t show up,” he said.

Ice­break­ers started as an in­for­mal com­mu­nity group more than two years ago and is now ex­tend­ing from Bun­bury to other re­gional cen­tres be­cause more and more ad­dicts and their fam­i­lies are seek­ing help.

Mr Lange’s com­ments come as the State Op­po­si­tion launched into Po­lice Min­is­ter Michelle Roberts’ metham­phetamine ac­tion plan this week, say­ing it had aban­doned com­pul­sory re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and cut fund­ing to the meth helpline.

Shire com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment co-or­di­na­tor Ja­son Cleary said the grant to Ice­break­ers came from the com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment fund to help ex­tend its pro­gram. “The pro­gram shows loved ones how to help, sup­port and guide them into re­cov­ery,” he said.

Mr Lange said no re­fer­rals were needed for the vol­un­teer-run ser­vice. To make con­tact, call 0400 707 049, email ice­break­ers.bun­[email protected]­, or see the group’s Face­book page.

Pic­ture: Jon Gell­weiler

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