Dealers tar­get­ing the home­less

Sup­port ser­vice work­ers warn ice prob­lem on rise

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS - Laura Nel­son

ICE dealers have upped their game among the home­less, prey­ing on them in parks and on city streets, with ser­vice providers warn­ing things will only get worse in the lead-up to Christ­mas.

Spokes­men for St John’s Cri­sis Cen­tre, the Salvos and Trans­for­ma­tions re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre, all on the Gold Coast, as well as You Have a Friend at the Tweed, con­firmed a wor­ry­ing rise in ice use among the des­ti­tute.

You Have a Friend founder John Lee said he too was con­cerned about the rise in ice use among the home­less his char­ity helped at Coolan­gatta, Mur­willum­bah and Tweed Heads.

“There’s def­i­nitely an in­crease and there’s no sign of it drop­ping,” he said.

“As soon as these guys get their money, the dealers are there in the parks, fol­low­ing them around.

“The po­lice need to be tar­get­ing the dealers – the main big boys sell­ing ice to the home­less.

“For­tu­nately not all the home­less are buy­ing ice.

“Many of them have asked me to help them stop the ice epi­demic.”

Rev Jon Brook, of

St John’s in Surfers Par­adise, said he and his team had seen an in­crease in those seek­ing help.

“We’ve al­ways had a hand­ful of home­less peo­ple tak­ing ice but we are see­ing more and more,” he said.

“We’re reg­u­larly feed­ing up to 70 peo­ple a day.

“I guess it’s be­cause it’s warmer and more home­less peo­ple are mov­ing here.”

Rev Brook said the is­sue was raised with him by other con­cerned del­e­gates at the re­cent home­less sym­po­sium at Car­rara.

Salvos’ Gold Coast Re­cov­ery Ser­vices man­ager Ma­jor David Roger­son said he too had seen a gen­eral in­crease in ice use.

He at­trib­uted this in part to its avail­abil­ity and the fact it was so easy to ac­cess.

“We had one of our guys who went through our pro­gram who was do­ing very well,” he said.

“Then he dis­ap­peared for sev­eral days.

“We made calls to the po­lice and found him on the street us­ing ice, which wasn’t his drug of choice.

“He was liv­ing home­less with an­other guy and they were us­ing it to­gether.

“He’s in his late 40s and de­cided to try ice for the first time. Now he’s liv­ing rough and us­ing al­co­hol as well.”

Mr Roger­son warned ice use among the home­less would def­i­nitely in­crease as Christ­mas came closer.

“Lone­li­ness and iso­la­tion is a killer,” he said.

“Peo­ple numb their pain with drugs.”

Trans­for­ma­tions at Surfers Par­adise chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Bar­rett said he had also no­ticed a rise in ice abuse among the home­less, which was part of a gen­eral rise across the city.

“Their drug of choice used to be pot and al­co­hol but ice has re­placed most of that among the home­less,” he said.

“Po­lice are do­ing a good job with heroin and co­caine busts but un­for­tu­nately meth can be made in pop-up labs, so it’s more dif­fi­cult to con­trol.

“It’s hard to know how the home­less are pay­ing for their ice but it is cheaper. A $30 hit will last them 10–12 hours.”

PHOTO: SCOTT DAVIS

WOR­RY­ING TREND: You Have A Friend founder John Lee is con­cerned about the rise in ice use among home­less.

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