THE effects methamphetamine or ice has on the brain and body will be the centre of an information forum at North Nowra on Thursday night.
Janice Ablett, who founded The Ice Meltdown Project in Victoria, will host the free forum at the Nowra City Church, in McMahons Road, North Nowra from 6.30pm.
Ms Ablett, a nurse with 20 years’ experience, has been conducting detox for ice addicts for the past 14 months.
“We will present the effects of ice and what it does to the brain and chemicals in the body,” she said.
“We will also be discussing how to control the use of ice and to get to the bottom of why people use.
“The forum will also provide education to addicts and their families.”
She started The Ice Meltdown Project after being contacted by a long-time friend who had become an ice addict.
“He stayed with us for four months and I learnt so much from him as we went through his rehabilitation,” she said.
“He is still living with us.”
Knowing the growing problem of ice addiction she launched a program in her community, holding meetings in her own home before moving into a local hall.
She established a 10-day detox program but with a major difference to others.
The detox is all done in addicts’ own homes, with their families.
“It’s been raging for 14 months,” she said.
“We have detoxed 160 people from all over Australia and in our first 12 months and we have had 25 success stories.”
The program has 35 clients on its books.
She gains no government funding and runs the program with the support of local service clubs and other community groups and through fundraisers.
“It can cost up to $15,000 to put people through rehab,” she said.
Ms Ablett says relapse is common among recovering addicts.
“We don’t kick them out. We always look at them as people.
“We don’t make them out to be junkies. They are no different to anyone else. They are just hurting themselves.”
Having heard of the growing problem with ice in the local area, her son Cory O’Brian and his friend Samy Saad, who have been working on the Princes Highway upgrade, suggested she come to the area.
“Mum has so much experience and information to pass on we thought it could be a help,” Mr O’Brian said.
“Who knows, we may even be able to establish some sort of outreach centre here.”