A FAMILY forum about crystal methamphetamine use confirmed what Wimmera authorities already suspected – Wimmera families are being torn apart by ice.
Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce co-ordinator and Grampians Community Health alcohol and other drugs counsellor Brendan Scale said 12 people attended Thursday’s forum to find out more about the highly addictive substance, where to go for help and how to cope with a loved one’s addiction.
Mr Scale said the opportunity to share stories helped people realise they were not alone.
“For so many of them it was great to be able to talk to people who understood them, without feeling shame or judgment,” he said.
“Some of them talked about how a family member or friend’s ice use was affecting their own lives.
“There was a lot of talk about the continual lies and deception, the selling off of family goods and the deep heartache it is causing.”
Mr Scale said the family session would be used as a launching pad for a support group.
The support group is due to form in January.
“The group will be open to any friends or family members of ice users,” Mr Scale said.
He hopes shining a spotlight on ice will encourage people to seek help and support.
About 250 people attended Wesley Performing Arts Centre in Horsham on December 2 to learn more about ice use in the Wimmera.
Mr Scale said a Melbourne-based group confirmed the Horsham ice forum was the largest in the state.
“It’s testament to the support of the community getting behind the ice issue,” he said.
Mr Scale encouraged people to seek more information about ice.
“If anyone wants to talk or ask questions or just needs some support, Grampians Community Health offers a free counselling service,” he said.
He said people could call him at Grampians Community Health on 5362 1200 for more information on counselling or the family support group.
Mr Scale said people could visit www.meth.org.au, which he believes is the best online source of ice information.
He said people could also call confidential helplines, such as DirectLine on 1800 888 236 or the Family Drug Help service on 1300 660 068.