Call for ice help after forum
TEN years. That’s how long most ice addicts struggle before seeking help.
At Thursday night’s community forum on crystal methamphetamine use, many agreed there were gaping holes in services, meaning those finally ready to seek help were falling through the gaps and further into addiction.
About 120 people gathered for the Breaking the Ice in Our Community forum, run by the NSW Government, Australian Drug Foundation and Tweed Community Drug Action Team at Tweed Heads Civic Centre.
Too few funds directed to addiction support and rehabilitation were blamed for some community members’ painful ordeals.
One woman told the forum she’d waited three weeks after first seeking help for a loved one who was hooked on ice. When support finally became available, they were “back on the gear” and no longer willing to be helped.
A mother in the crowd said Murwillumbah was suffering from a significantly higher than average number of people affected by ice, with her family personally suffering.
“Where are the services? There are no services,” she said.
“We need to have more services to help educate our babies.”
After the forum, the mother of five said rehabilitation services were desperately needed closer to home.
“From my personal knowledge, if you go to Sydney you might get help. We need more services here, not 1000km away where you don’t have the love and support of your family to help.”
Tweed woman Nicole, who used ice for about 16 years before going to Thailand for an intensive six-week rehabilitation, shared her inspiring story of recovery.
“You can get through it,” she said.
Richard, 47, who is now working in a rehabilitation centre, spoke about his treatment after 12 years as an addict, including his last four years on ice.
“I’d lost everything by this stage,” he said. “I was living in a car. I just didn’t want to live anymore.”
Tweed MP Geoff Provest said he would support a medical – rather than criminal – approach to helping ice addicts and wanted to seek funding for more support.
“Just locking them up and throwing away the key isn’t working and the whole community’s suffering,” MrProvest said.
Tweed Mayor Katie Milne agreed that providing medical support for those struggling with addiction would be more effective than criminalising them.
- Amphetamines have been around since the 1890s and methamphetamine was first created in Japan in 1919.
- 70% of ice users are ‘occasional’ users. The remaining 30% use the drug regularly. Half of regular users take ice weekly or daily.